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Eleanor - UK Nurse living in Dunedin

Kia Ora! My name is Eleanor I am a registered adult nurse from Manchester in the UK. I arrived in New Zealand in August with my boyfriend Matt, direct from the UK and then I started a surgical nursing job at Dunedin hospital.

The process to come over to NZ took 10 months in total. The easiest part of the process was applying for my work to residency visa, it took about 3 days to arrive, it was straightforward and completed over the internet with NZ immigration.

Getting a job offer was also pretty straightforward; ACCENT found me an interview really quickly, in a surgical speciality and in Dunedin – a location that was great for me. I had a Skype interview at the end of June which I had a couple of prep days for and was offered the job the next day- It all happened very quickly! ACCENT were great, I can't thank them enough- especially the ACCENT HR team who stayed in contact throughout the whole process.

I also attended an expo in Manchester, UK and spoke with Prudence, I joined in a webinar online to see what the process was like and get as much information as I could on the process. It can seem a little overwhelming at first with all the documentation and requirements, but ACCENT made this really easy to understand and go through the process step by step.

Take it one step at a time. The most challenging part of the process was definitely acquiring the NZ nursing registration. This was the most time consuming part and took 9 months, mostly due to communication issues from the NZ nursing council. Having to post everything rather than email takes time, my university transcripts got lost in the post too! Sitting the IELTS exam and finding all the information the NZ nursing council need takes time-I found this part a little frustrating, but it was all worked out.

ACCENT was really awesome helping me get my registration in time for the start date required for my job offer. My boyfriend and I travelled in a camper extensively during a 12 month working holiday visa in 2014/15 and I had previously backpacked NZ in 2009 for a month. We both really enjoyed the lifestyle and beautiful scenery in NZ, so we wanted to come back to live here. So we knew what to expect when arriving in NZ. We already had NZ bank accounts and IRD numbers from our previous visit-although we were working on a dairy farm, quite different to nursing!


Having these arranged before arriving in NZ means you can hit the ground running. Prior to this nursing job offer we had probably spent about 4 days in Dunedin in total! It is a great city- vibrant, great beaches close by and awesome wildlife on your doorstep! How often do you walk a beach with a Sea lion on it?!

The best part of NZ for us is the outdoors, hiking, great beaches, cafe culture and a better work life balance. Dunedin is a great location for us as the South Island highlights are a 3.5 hr drive away – Queenstown/Wanaka, Fiordland, Mt Cook. On our days off we go on road trips in our little campervan. On shorter trips we visit the Catlins- a couple of hours away on the southern scenic highway. The scenery is stunning!

I definitely miss friends and family the most, I have never really felt homesick and we have both been overseas backpacking for 2 years but moving to a new country and job is quite challenging, I found at the beginning it was quite lonely. It is totally normal to feel like this- give it time!


My advice is continuing your hobbies in NZ. I go regularly to Yoga and have made some lovely friends through this, my work colleagues are always socialising too and really friendly. Six months later we feel much more settled, we have got used to cold houses! Twelve months later we are pretty much sorted, we have a cat called Buckles, a couple of mountain bikes and a cute bach to live in overlooking the peninsula. I would never get a view like this back in the UK!

My advice when coming to New Zealand is do some research into where you want to live and to be prepared for the costs. It can be expensive relocating. There are the costs to get a visa, nursing registration and flights. Then setting up a new life in a new country is initially quite costly – vehicle, shipping possessions, rent etc. I saved up back in the UK working full time nursing and living at home for cheaper living costs for 18 months prior to coming to NZ, which also meant I didn't have any rental agreements or ties- so I could leave quickly.

We find the cost of living in NZ is comparable to the UK. Also consider how long it will take you to sort out the move. I only had 10 days between finishing in my full time UK nursing job and flying to NZ. In hindsight, this wasn't enough time! The 10 days between finishing my UK job and flying to NZ were the most stressful, as I had to pack everything I own, sort out finances, sell my car and say goodbye to everyone. I managed it all....just! I was exhausted and emotionally drained. I think I slept most of the 31 hrs it took to get NZ! I had 4 days in NZ before I started work in Dunedin- to find somewhere to live and recover from jetlag. I would definitely have preferred to have had a bit more time to get myself together before I left and before I started my job here in NZ.

ACCENT were amazing meeting us at the airport and welcoming us with a great coffee and biscuits! ACCENT gave us both sim cards and has stayed in contact to see how we are getting on. Accent connected me with another UK nurse who had been in Dunedin for a while, this was great to learn about the city and get tips on where to visit.

Nursing in NZ is very similar to the UK once you get your head around the different lingo, I find it less busy but my NHS ward in the UK was flat out 24/7. I felt settled in my job after 6 months-but for me that is usual in most jobs here or back in the UK. My colleagues were really friendly and welcoming. I have made some great friends. I feel like I get more time to deliver care in NZ which is a big plus, having time to talk with patients is a great privilege. There is hardly any traffic so the post night shift commute doesn't involve sitting in rush hour traffic! NZ is a beautiful country and working and living here is a great experience, no matter how long you plan to stay for. Come with an open mind and immerse yourself in the outdoors. The scenery is second to none. The work life balance is pretty sweet too. The adventure continues....



How do I get registered in New Zealand? How much will I get paid in New Zealand? Where is the best place to work in New Zealand? Do my children need visas for New Zealand? For answers to these questions and more, check out our FAQs page.


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