Andrea Lees - Registered Mental Health Nurse (Community)
I came to NZ in May 2016. The process to come to NZ took me approx. 18 months.
The easiest part of the process was finding a job - this was helped greatly by ACCENT - it was easy due to my skills being matched with what NZ employer’s roles offered and all the support I was given from applications right through to coming out here and starting work was fantastic.
The most challenging part of the process was undertaking the IELTS exam despite being English! It was quite tricky! The registration process is also lengthy with a lot of paperwork to organise. And waiting for our furniture to arrive was a test in patience!!
My first impressions of NZ were how 'beautiful' and very green it was despite the season going into winter when we arrived. The people are just so friendly and helpful. It is so clean as well.
The best parts of NZ are the beaches, the people and the relaxed lifestyle.
What I miss the most is obviously family and friends and real English fish and chip shops!
My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is get organised early, get all the relevant paperwork together early on as this saves time in the longer term and cuts down on the stress.
I am glad that I used a recruitment agency (ACCENT HR) Kristin and Merryl were such a great support and a wealth of knowledge. I know of people that I have organised things themselves, but I found that using an agency took out a lot of the stress. The processes and timings of getting things right can be really difficult and I was so glad to get all the help and advise I could with this.
And visit an expo if you can, they have everything there that you need to make the move.
The country is very similar to the UK and being around other expats helps as they are able to offer advice. English is the main spoken language, driving on the left hand side of the road; getting a Sat Nav has definitely helped!
It often feels that we are not at the other side of the world!
Questions about your new workplace:
Are there any major differences between your current role in NZ and your previous role in (UK)?
Not as many as I thought, your nursing skills are very adaptable here. Some of the processes are very different, but it becomes clearer with time and training and lots of questions to my new colleagues!
Is there anything specifically done differently in NZ that has interested you and the way you practice your profession?
The mental health act seems less complicated here. I like the fact that respite placements are used as an alternative to hospital admissions. There seems to be far better access to psychological therapies here than in the UK.