The more you focus one going after what you need in life, the less time you have to sit and wait for your entitlement to it. – Dirk Snyman

Dirk is one of those guys who make it work. Who doesn’t sit around and wait for things to happen, and who knows what it takes to make a life worth living.

Many young South African men wish that there was some basic military training they could join, and sometimes the British or American armies, (or even French Foreign Legion,)  are just that bit out of reach, or just that bit of an uncertain step.

But Dirk here proved that it can be done, and stands as an example for many young men who needs a bit of encouragement in standing firm, and not giving up.

Let’s hop over, and have a quick chat with him.


Why England, Dirk? Everybody seemed to be going there at the time!

Yes, the reason why I chose England is that I had two family members that went to England before me, and they advised me that it was a good choice if I wanted to find a job and save money.


How long have you been living in England?

I’ve been living in the UK for about fifteen years now, left South Africa in early 2004.


Would you say the quality of life in England is better, worse or just different than that of South Africa?

the quality is better, but it depends on what you judge quality as, for instance, the quality of work is better, police and National services like fixing roads was gone downhill but still better than SA


Are the people in England hospitable toward South Africans?

The English are very proud nationals and will always think that they are better than others but as soon as they know that you are from Africa or South Africa, they have the perception, (because of your South African background and reputation,) that you are hardworking and consequently they make you feel welcome.

What is it you enjoy most about England?

Something I appreciate about the UK is the fact that you have a better opportunity to be more successful in life, combined with an easily accessible education system that is easy to come by if you are willing to learn and adapt.


What are your hobbies /sports?

I build and fly Remote Controlled Quad-copters in my spare time which adds to my hobby of photography and aerial photography. As a sport, I do mixed martial arts and running when I get a chance.


How long were you in the army?

I joined the UK military in 2005 and finished my service in 2012 (7 years)


Would you consider the U.K army to be better than the SA army at his stage?

I would think that the UK army is one of the best, and reckon that the South African Defence Force is not an army anymore.


What is it you find most difficult / challenging about living in England?

You have to do everything by the book. You can be a leader or a manager for many years but without the paperwork to prove it, you will get nowhere.


Was there ever a time when you thought of coming back to South Africa?

There was a time when I was in a war zone and said to myself that when the war is over, I will return to South Africa but never followed through with it.


What advice would you have for people who consider immigrating to England / Or anywhere else in the world?

If you ever decide to move to a different country or just live there for a while, be prepared to adapt to there culture and be passionate in everything you do. Follow through with your plans and look at all your opportunities.


What is it that you miss about South Africa?

For sure my family and friends, the big variety of food and the nice warm weather.

The things you can appreciate more in South Africa is the food and freedom, where you can get away with a lot more things then over in the UK.


Name two items that we have in South Africa, that you cannot buy in England.

Vetkoek and a good firearm to protect yourself with. Most South African merchandise can be bought over the internet, but can get pricy because of shipment costs, which affects your decision on how bad you want it.


Anything else that you would like to tell people in South Africa about life in England?

Life in England is fast and hard, there is no room for the weak but the street. The country never stops. 24/7 everyday off the year in most companies and organizations. The rules and regulations on everything you can think of, is extremely strict and if you don’t adhere to the standards, you’ll soon regret it.


What can we South Africans learn from England and its people?

The more you focus one going after what you need in life, the less time you have to sit and wait for your entitlement to it. Something I reckon South Africans can learn from the British is how to strive to be that better person, both in life and work. Unfortunately, corruption has had a negative effect on the South African society, but I believe a difference can be made if enough people show that they truly and genuinely care for one another.


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