What It’s Like When You First Live, Study and Work in New Zealand?

Ranked second on the Global Peace Index 2022, New Zealand is undoubtedly the safest country to live, study and work in. With internationally rated universities and a responsive educational system, it has the ideal balance of opportunities, culture, economy and climate. Its pristine and stunning scenic locales will make your experience worth every penny if you are interested in migration to New Zealand. 

The largest city is Auckland, while Wellington is the capital. With 4.8 million people, four out of five are of European descent, one out of six are Maori (the tangata whenua or indigenous people), one in fifteen are Asian, and one in sixteen are of Pacific Island origin. 

Cultural distinctions in New Zealand 

When you migrate to New Zealand it could appear a little alien to you at first. Some of the changes you perceive could be: 

  • New Zealanders typically don’t dress formally. 
  • Don’t be alarmed or upset if someone is a bit late for a social meeting because New Zealanders are not always prompt for social events. Appointments are arranged in advance to see professionals (e.g., to see a doctor or lecturer), and punctuality is required for these appointments. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions; most people are more than willing to respond. Personal privacy is paramount, and New Zealanders rarely share things like salaries, mortgages, and ages with people outside of their families. 
  • Making remarks about someone’s weight, age, looks, or mannerisms, or focusing your attention on them, is considered disrespectful. 
  • Saying “please” and “thank you” when paying for products and services or receiving assistance is considered courteous. 
  • Littering and spitting are offensive behaviours. 
  • On Saturdays and Sundays, schools and educational institutions may be open, but courses are rarely held on these days. 
  • Although certain cafes and restaurants may feature a receptacle for tips, tipping is not always customary in New Zealand. Tipping is more prevalent in cities like Queenstown that receive huge numbers of tourists from abroad. 
  • Although it is uncommon, asking for a discount on more expensive items like vehicles, white goods, appliances, or even bicycles may be accepted. Many businesses give discounts to students with student ID. 

Homesickness and culture shock 

We typically look forward to the experience of living in a different culture, but sometimes we are unprepared for the contrasts. Nearly all international students who migrate to New Zealand and are immersed in a new culture experience some form of culture shock. 

Everything is brand-new and exhilarating at first, but as you get used to it, you could feel frustrated, lonely, or uneasy. Recall that this is a typical aspect of adjusting to a new culture. 

Sometimes you could feel as though you are unsure about what is suitable and inappropriate, or that the way you previously lived or behaved was incorrect. 

Here are some additional signs of culture shock you could encounter

  • You might feel alone or impatient. 
  • You might get homesick. 
  • You can feel resentful or hostile toward your new home. 
  • You might rely too much on other overseas students. 
  • You could have second thoughts about travelling to New Zealand. 
  • One or more of these symptoms may be present in you, and their intensity will vary from person to person. 

Managing Culture Shock 

  • Keep in mind that culture shock is a normal phenomenon. 
  • Be patient; it will take time to adjust. 
  • Keep a journal. 
  • Try to keep an open mind and keep in mind that New Zealand is a distinct country. 
  • Try speaking to someone who has experienced this already. 
  • Try not to compare New Zealanders to people from other cultures. 
  • Keep yourself active, busy, and your mind engaged. 
  • While attempting to network, keep in touch with your fellow classmates. You’ll feel more a part of something, and your feelings of isolation and alienation will lessen as a result. 
  • List all the positive aspects of New Zealand. 
  • You won’t feel as lost and will start to feel a sense of direction after you start to comprehend New Zealand culture. 

Managing homesickness 

Most people have experienced homesickness (missing your loved ones back home) at some point. The weeks leading up to departure, the first few days or weeks after arrival, an anniversary or other special occasion like a birthday, or the beginning of your second year are the most typical periods to experience homesickness. 

It’s normal to miss home. Here are some suggestions that can be useful to you

  • Discuss it with someone you can trust. Try your buddies, the student adviser, the nurse, the priest, or the counsellor. 
  • Keep in mind that other individuals will also experience the same emotions, even while you may believe they are doing ok.  
  • Maintain consistent communication with loved ones by phone, email, or letter. Never be reluctant to let them know how you’re feeling and about any issues. Let them know that you wish to hear from them. 
  • Never forget to eat well and get enough of sleep. 
  • You don’t have to agree with or comprehend everything right away, so give yourself some time to acclimate. 
  • You don’t have to make important decisions right away. 
  • Participate in something you like to do or try something new. 
  • If you are having trouble studying, speak with your instructor, programme manager, student adviser, or a member of the Learning Assistance team. 
  • Keep a journal to keep track of your events and thoughts. 

New Zealand is one of the most highly ranked countries to live, work and study. If you are interested in migrating to New Zealand, our experienced counsellors at MWT Education Consultancy are eager to work with you in learning about your aims and aspirations so that they can help and guide you all through the process.