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Lesley - Neuro Occupational Therapist, Christchurch

My Name is Lesley, I am an Occupational Therapist and I came to NZ in September 2014 from England. The process to come to NZ took me 3 months.

The easiest part of the process was - getting work. The job came up pretty quickly. Accent were very supportive and provided some great feedback in preparation of the interview. I received an offer about a week and a bit later. Fantastic! Couldn't believe it .The Skype interview was a little tricky due to poor connection but the team made me feel at ease and it went very well.

The most challenging part of the process was obtaining managers agreement to verbal references - time difference being the main obstacle. Settled for written references in the end - thank you Accent.

My first impressions of NZ - The earthquake damage in Christchurch was a real shock (we have visited years ago pre 2011 earthquake). Didn't appreciate how bad things were until we reached the city centre. However NZ people have shown us that life goes on and I admire them for their resilience and optimism.

The best parts of NZ - Christchurch and around....of course.  We are thrilled to be living in Sumner. It's great being near the sea in a small community. Very special in fact.

What I miss the most are our family and friends. We don't miss our old home. I hate to say it but we do miss the BBC and no advert channels.

My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is to research your chosen destination and familiarise self with the NZ culture - perhaps talk to other people who have worked out here. We travelled NZ for 5 months in 2003/04 so we already had a good idea about the wonderful things on offer.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR NEW WORKPLACE

Are there any major differences between your current role in NZ and your previous role in England?
Yes - I used to work for the NHS which is very structured and rigid system. I now have the pleasure of working for a relatively new organisation which listens and welcomes ideas from clients and employees.  I have recently been invited to participate in some projects to improve and develop services and this is very exciting for me.

Are there any similarities that have helped you orientate/transition easily?
Yes, some of the assessments and treatment techniques are the same as back at home and this is very reassuring.

Is there anything specifically done differently in NZ that has interested you and the way you practice your profession?
Quick access and communication with other services - very informal - more opportunity to share knowledge and practice.