Jennifer - Occupational Therapist


My name is Jen, and I am an Occupational Therapist. I came to NZ on the 10th of September 2021 from the Philippines.

The process to come to NZ took me approximately 6 months (3 months to gather requirements for my registration with the board and 3 months for the recruitment process with ACCENT, plus preparation for the big move).

Surprisingly, the easiest part of the process was finding a job offer through ACCENT. I was intimidated by the thought at first but when I started speaking to Prudence about the steps in detail and getting guidance from her, it was a breeze! She was incredibly helpful and quick to respond to my queries which gave me the assurance I needed. I was booked for a job interview less than a week after I sent the requirements to ACCENT and got the job offer a week after! To be honest, it did catch me off guard how quick it was, but it was a pleasant surprise for sure.

The most challenging part of the process was probably getting myself registered to the OT board (prior to communicating with ACCENT). I did it independently and had little to no guidance in going through the process except for the information found on the OTBNZ website. Looking back, I’m glad I took the leap of faith and took my chances—it got me here today! It was a nerve-wracking, surreal experience.

I find NZ to be a serene, peaceful place, with fresh air, lots of breath-taking sceneries and friendly people! I noticed how people of ALL ages here love to participate in outdoor leisure activities, which is quite nice and refreshing to watch. Personally, I think the best part of NZ is the people. They’re so kind and welcoming, you wouldn’t feel out of place in a group.

What I miss the most is spending time with family and friends back home and I guess the comforting feeling of familiarity with all the places, faces, and activities in your area. It still feels a bit unreal that I left my hometown of 26 years to come to a drastically different part of the world, but I definitely don’t have regrets! Besides, going out of your comfort zone and exploring an unfamiliar place is part of the adventure.

My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is research about the different places and cities and decide which part of NZ you’d want to live in. Believe it or not, each city is different and can have incredibly different climates! I am currently living in the sunny Hawke’s Bay, which is a good area for me considering I come from the sunny Philippines! It takes a lot of adjusting to move to a different country, so take your time getting to know NZ and weigh things up. Once you decide to give it a go, you can contact knowledgeable and experienced people who can help you with your big move, such as the people from ACCENT!

I plan to visit the other areas and cities around NZ, particularly the South Island. I hear a lot of good things about it and can’t wait to have the chance to visit. For now, I’m enjoying my time here in Hawke’s Bay, exploring the different sites and beaches.

The work/life balance here has made a huge difference to my life, as work and rest is very clearly separated, opposite to what I’m used to! Having adequate rest from work is valued highly here, and because of this I feel cared for as a worker. It gives me time to unwind and enjoy my free time, which you don’t get in a lot of other places.

There are major differences between my current role as an OT in NZ and my previous role back in the Philippines; this is probably because I used to handle acute/sub-acute cases then and now dealing with community cases and contracts. It’s a big change, however it’s one that I have always wanted to explore. The things they do here I’ve only read in books back in university, now I get to do them too! It’s great, especially because my workmates have been really helpful and willing to guide me through it.

So far, everything has been fantastic since I’ve moved here, and I owe a lot of it to ACCENT, specifically Prudence, for making the process of moving a million times easier!
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