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Rachael - Paediatric Speech Language Pathologist, Wellington

Hi there!

My Name is Rachael, I am a Paediatric Speech Language Pathologist and I came to NZ in February from the United States. The process to come to NZ took me just under four months - but if I needed to I'm sure I could have been three months.

The easiest part of the process was arriving to Wellington and getting all of my initial paperwork done by the end of the first two days. Merryl and Accent Health Recruitment were great with informing me about parts of the process I could start while in the United States and then letting me know where to go to complete the process so that I could get my final HR information in, tax number applied for, and bank account opened. It was nice to get this done so quickly so that I could explore the city and search out a place to live.

The most challenging part of the process was the interview via phone since it was compiled of different case studies that I could encounter on a daily basis based on my new job role.

My first impressions of NZ were just how beautiful the landscape is, especially in Wellington because when I flew in the sky was blue and all of the coastline and water looked beautiful.

Accent Health Recruitment just made the process so simple from setting up the interview, making sure I got the contract, searching for information about different neighbourhoods, and sending links about the documents I would need. I have worked overseas before but this was one of the most efficient experiences I've had and even when certain things were taking longer than expected it was nice to have a person at Accent Health Recruitment to contact.

The best parts of NZ are I have to say that right now it has been the weather and getting to enjoy the beach and sun In February (while it is cold and snowing on the East Coast of the states!!!)
What I miss the most is my closet!!! I managed to travel with just one 50 pound bag but I am already tired or seeing the same clothes in my closet and dresser

My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is to make the most of you time outside of work. I have already started a list of places that I would like to see both in and out of the city and around the country so that I can make the most of my short time here.

Above is a picture of my commute from the City Centre to Lower Hutt - I can't complain getting on the train and looking outside to see this!


There are a few major differences between my current role in NZ and my previous roles in the States and China.  I am still getting use to the public health system as well as the Ministry of Education so that I can make appropriate referrals and understand the way the system works. One of the biggest differences has been learning about the waiting list, both at the DHB but also for Early Intervention and the Schools as well as who qualifies for services. Sometimes my patients have been on a waiting list for 10 to 11 months, not just for an evaluation but also to get services which is very different from the states. I make sure to keep this in mind so that I make sure to give them the time and quality services that they deserve.

Compared to my last job overseas in Shanghai I would say that there is just more regulation and policies to follow in general with New Zealand- starting with the NZSTA and all of the scheduled in services and workshops. However, the one thing that is similar is that I am part of a therapies department with people from all over the world.

There are some similarities, however, that have helped me transition into my new role.  The scope of practice and responsibilities for speech therapist here and at home are similar. It was nice to finally get to assess and work with children and families because that is the same as being in the states- we just have different accents and words for some items.

The reports and dialogue between the professions and families are very family friendly and more "laid back" compared to when I was in the states. I was told that when I write reports and meet with the families that I need to consider the language that I use, as well as the length of the information, so that families are better able to understand not only what my role is/what I am assessing but also the results and recommendations for home.



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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