My name is Lauren, I’m an Occupational Therapist from the UK and came over to New Zealand in October of 2020. From stating the process of professional registration to landing the process took around 7 months. After gaining registration things went a lot quicker!
The easiest part of the process was securing a job. We were very surprised at how easy this part of the process was, given that it's usually the part people worry about the most. I was offered a job on my first interview and could not believe it. It was the best feeling ever because so much rides on securing a job offer. Prue from ACCENT helped with everything, from CV to interview and beyond. The interview prep support from Prue made me feel more at ease and working with them just took the pressure off. The second easiest part was deciding to go. It definitely was all systems go. We had our visa through on Friday and booked our flight for the Monday. Looking back now we were just so lucky that everything just came together. We didn't didn't find quarantine that unbearable either. It gave us time to get things sorted when we landed and ACCENT looked after us and kept checking in.
The most challenging part of the process was not much but I don't think you can avoid challenges when you move to the other side of the world. Especially when the world is going through so much. The biggest challenge was lining all our ducks up, knowing which steps to take first. We had to sell our house and at the time we did not know how long that would take in a pandemic. We ended up living in a caravan with 2 children and 2 dogs because we did not want to tie ourselves to a rental. You could say we took ACCENT’s advice to be move ready very seriously. This is where the checklists and advice from ACCENT came in so handy. They ended up being way more to us than recruitment alone. They offered us so much support, an ear when things got tough and encouragement every step. I truly believe we would have found the process 10 times harder and longer without their support.
My first impressions of NZ were so much open space, green, fresh air, dramatic scenery. The best parts of NZ for us is that my two boys can run and explore so many beautiful places. These places are usually free and we feel so lucky that we are surrounded by amazing scenery. We have found people to be so welcoming and friendly and so so generous.
What I miss the most is family and friends. In a strange way we had got used to connecting with them virtually with lockdown. But I don't think you can prepare yourself for the distance. It's not so easy to pop back home. We have a feeling though that when things open up again we will have lots of visitors. My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is do your research but remember everyone's experience is different, your experience is what you make it. Be the most organised you have ever been in your life and listen to ACCENT advice, they will make being organised a whole lot easier.
I am just so thankful that we had the opportunity to come to such an amazing country. I pinch myself every week. We have no regrets.
Not major a major difference between my current role in NZ and my previous but I would say subtle differences. I felt more accountable for everything in the UK. My role in NZ is very open and flexible here. I also don't work alongside many OTs in my role here but I am in a rural area. Similar assessments, processes and the competencies are basically the same as the UK. The term rural generalist was new to me. Where a professional may go accros all areas such as pediatrics, mental health and physical.