Jo - Speech Language Therapist
My Name is Jo. I am a Speech and Language Therapist working in inpatient acute services.
I came to NZ at the end of December 2018 from the UK after a 6 month long process
The easiest part of the process was getting a job. The most challenging part of the process was applying for registration and visas, particularly pulling together all the evidence required.
In the UK I worked in Secure services for adults with learning disabilities and had 7ish years’ experience. Since moving to NZ I have started a new specialism. It’s been a learning curve, and at times I almost feel like I’m newly qualified again! I've been very lucky to have a supportive team around me who have helped me into my new role and learn the ropes. In terms of dysphagia the way it is assessed is very different, what I would have used in the UK is not used in NZ, so I have had to learn the skills for this. That being said, a lot of the skills I had around professionalism, note writing and utilising evidence-based practice are very similar and transferable, so having these skills already honed is very helpful. At the moment I am just enjoying learning a new specialism, I am very lucky to get this opportunity this far into my career.
My first impressions of NZ were that it was a very friendly and relaxed country. On our first day in the country and we were walking through the streets in Auckland and people were saying hello and wishing us a Happy New Year.
The best things about NZ is the amount of things to do. There are so many beautiful places to visit without having to travel too far. So far we have managed without a car to get around and do things in and around Auckland. You don't have to travel too far out of the city to be in the rainforest and there are so many amazing beaches around the city and suburbs. There are also lots of activities you can do including windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, climbing . . .You'll never be bored. We have also made the most of gigs available in the spark arena and shows at the Civic Theatre.
What I miss the most is the English supermarkets and the ease of Amazon! We are slowly getting used to the different names for foods (e.g. Kumara for sweet potato and capsicum for pepper!) and what is available in New Zealand and what’s not. Things that cost us pence in the UK cost a lot more in NZ. I have always been an independent person and quite introverted, i didn't expect leaving family and friends behind would have such an impact on me. There will be days you feel homesick and lonely, but don't let that put you off. Skype and Whatsapp are wonderful things. Also going to the beach is a great cure for being homesick.
My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is be prepared to have cold feet! There were many occasions that me and my husband were so nervous about the move that we questioned our motives and the benefits of moving. I've spoken to other people who have gone through the same process as us, and this seems to be a perfectly normal reaction. Despite everything, we are so happy we have made the move. The quality of life we have now is so much better than we have in the UK, we don't regret it at all.