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Assaf - GP

My Name is Assaf, I am a general practitioner. I came to New Zealand in July 2023 from Israel. The process to come to New Zealand took me 8 months.

The easiest part of the process was some administrative aspects, like registration to the services and websites. The most challenging part of the process, other than finalizing the decision to make the move, was fulfilling all requirements for New Zealand immigration.

My recruiter at ACCENT Health Recruitment was the wonderful Prudence Thomson who immediately gave the impression that she recognizes our specific needs and the complexities in the process, was exceptionally nice, forthcoming, and very optimistic in the outset. We received guidance about the overall process, outlining the different steps and our tasks in each step, provided us with templates and revised the documents, found job openings, and organized online interviews with potential employers.

My first impressions of NZ were the winding narrow roads up the hills of Wellington in the rainy evening when we arrived, but the next morning it was the colors: the green all over, the changing skies and seas. I specifically like the trees, the power of nature. I have not travelled outside of the Wellington region yet, but nature and the outdoors are at the doorstep. I plan to visit Christchurch to get to know another large city in New Zealand. We would like to visit the natural parks in the South Island.
We miss our friends and our neighborhood. The older children miss their social circles and their close friends, as well as their schools. Technology makes it easier to stay in touch with family and friends.

I work in New Zealand almost the same hours as I did before. Weekends are longer and offer more opportunities for recreational activities. But hard to say, since we have been here for less than 6 months and not yet resumed daily regular activities at a capacity similar to the past.

It is a fresh start, so as a GP I am professionally retracted 2-4 years backwards. In terms of day-to-day work, it is a steep learning curve. Health systems are different, health is expensive in NZ, co-payments are something to get used to (many of the health services back home are free of co-payments).

Clinical work is about the same. The work environment is similar. The team in the clinic is large, accommodating and very supportive. I learn something new almost every day. The patient mix and medical problems mix are different. The breadth of fields which is dealt with by GP is larger, and I like it.

My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is that it must be a different experience depending on who you come with and where you come from. For a large family it is a complex transition and there are bound to be ups and downs. Match your expectations, make adjustments, set a reasonable time frame to settle in and figure out if this is good for you.

Assaf
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