Living in New Zealand
Starting a new life as an immigrant requires cramming a lifetime of knowledge, experience and information into an incredibly short space of time. This scramble to gather information usually becomes extremely frustrating, and is often impossible. This leads to considerable disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the emigrant's new country. Add to this the practicalities associated with migration, such as finding accommodation, transportation, etc. and it can become overwhelming.
When you arrive, why not sign up for social clubs, playgroups for your children and even expat groups to help you get adjusted? You can also get professional resettlement advice, which can pay for itself in helping you avoid costly mistakes in your new homeland.
What to expect
New Zealanders speak English and drive on the same side of the road, but don't let that lull you into a sense of false security. You will find some very real differences in culture that you may not have thought of, and you need to prepare yourself for in order to reduce culture shock upon arriving. New Zealanders create an incredibly friendly environment, but you'll still need to be aware of the different customs and social standards that may exist within your new homeland.
Finding and making a home
Finding a place to live is also a key part of making your new country feel like home. Research regions, commuting distances (and traffic during rush hours) in addition to public transportation options. Picking the wrong area could find you spending 45 minutes in the car to go a mere 5 miles, or so far out in the country that going to work or sending the children to school is extremely inconvenient.
Banking as an expat - Before you leave, try to arrange a bank account. This will make your life much easier; as once you're in New Zealand it is more difficult to establish a banking presence. Keep in mind that you will not have a credit history in New Zealand, and you'll need to start from scratch. Having a bank account already set up for you can help you build up your credit rating. The Bank of New Zealand offers a bank account for migrants, which you may want to investigate.
Education in New Zealand - Education is also very different in New Zealand. Get as much information as possible before you go, and weigh up the pros and cons of the educational system to determine if it is the best for your child. As in the UK, private education is available, but remember it can be expensive.
Driving in New Zealand
Distances and speeds are measured in kilometres, not in miles. Speed limits and the rules of the road are also different. Prepare yourself in advance by reading up on New Zealand road rules, and you'll need to find out the rules about driving on a UK licence and converting your UK licence to a New Zealand one.
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