Visiting other countries while on vacation is one thing. Moving abroad to actually live there is another thing entirely.
In the first scenario, the novelty is all part of the fun. You’ll marvel at how differently everyone sounds (even when they appear to be speaking English), rejoice in the colder climate, and perhaps even find amusement in exploring local transportation.
In the second scenario, however, the unfamiliar can quickly turn terrifying. Those quaint accents won’t be so endearing when they get in the way of your understanding directions or workplace instructions, all that powdery white winter snow will only mean that you have to spend the morning shoveling it off your car and the driveway while you freeze your butt off, and you’ll have to figure out public transportation routes quickly lest you show up late to work a little too often.
This is not to discourage you from migrating, of course. There will always be a period of adjustment when you’re trying something new, and the key to getting through it successfully is knowing what to expect.
Say, you’ve decided to move to New Zealand. What sort of things should you watch out for?
English remains to be the predominant language in New Zealand, but the Kiwi accent can take some getting used to. It’s quite different from the way Americans speak, but it’ll sound familiar if you’ve lived in Australia for some time before crossing the Tasman.
New Zealanders also tend to speak quite fast, so you may find them hard to understand if your own grasp of the English language isn’t too solid yet and/or you’re not used to the Kiwi accent.
Fortunately, the Kiwi’s are usually friendly and obliging if you politely ask them to slow down or to repeat what they’ve just said. Brushing up on your study of the English language also helps, and you can perhaps try to listen to local podcasts to get familiar with the accent.
The weather in New Zealand is generally mild, but as with Australia, its citizens experience all four seasons, but they occur in reverse order.
Winter, for example, lasts from June to August, and whether you get snow or not depends on which part of the country you live in. The landscape then changes from white to a lovely burnt orange, courtesy of autumn, which graces the country from March till May.
Spring usually arrives around September, and Mother Nature remains in full bloom until December, which typically marks the beginning of the summer season.
Thus, you may want to stock your wardrobe with coats, jackets, and thermal wear to prepare for the fluctuations in temperature.
The local population has a deep love and respect for nature, and New Zealand’s iconic scenery can be glimpsed everywhere, even in the country’s biggest cities.
In the midst of so much natural beauty, it’s not surprising that much of the recreational activities in this country are done outside. From hiking to skiing, adrenaline junkieswill have no shortage of new hobbies to explore.
However, do be warned that littering is frowned upon as it’s bad for the environment. Last I checked, New Zealand’s parliament was even proposing a fine of NZ$1,000 for anyone who gets caught littering. Yikes. Best keep litter in your pockets till you come across a garbage bin then.
Salaries are generally good in this country, and employment opportunities for expats are quite diverse. Part-time jobs in the healthcare industry are a popular choice for many migrants who are also trying to get a degree or are in the process of applying for a citizenship.
Fields like forestry, fishing, and construction have the highest demand for skilled labor, so if you’ve got skills and/or an education that would prove useful in any of those industries, you’re likely to find a job faster.
If you choose to settle in big cities like Auckland or Wellington, you’ll have access to a comprehensive rail system, so you may not need a car to get around.
Not so in the more remote areas, however. Some of the smaller cities have buses servicing the local populace, but driving your own car remains to be the most convenient mode of transportation. However, traffic jams are uncommon and are usually found only in big cities during rush hour.
And, of course, there’s always the bicycle. When you live in a country this clean and safe, getting to and from work and school on a bike actually sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
NZ culture is arguably one of the best things about this country. Corruption and discrimination aren’t the norm here, and Kiwi’s have a reputation for being open-minded and friendly.
This also extends to their business culture, which is more informal than those in other Western countries (though basic courtesy is still practiced and valued).
The Maori heritage is also a crucial part of the country’s culture, with many Maori words finding their way into everyday conversations, so you may want to familiarize yourself with what they mean and how they are pronounced.
See? Moving over to New Zealand might call for some changes in your lifestyle, but that’s nothing compared to what you’d be getting in return: a naturally beautiful, politically and economically stable new homeland that’s arguably more accepting of outsiders than any other place in the world.