Warwickshire, UK to Christchurch, New Zealand

Name: Rachel Sanders
Job title: Requirements Engineer
I moved from: Warwickshire, UK
I moved too: Christchurch, New Zealand
I arrived in New Zealand: 22nd July 2015

Rachel Sanders

What do you enjoy most about living in New Zealand and in your city?

I always wanted to live between the mountains and the sea and now I do! The suburb I live in is right on the coast so I can hear the surf from home and see the mountains as I drive into the city.

The outdoors is so accessible – I live right next to the Port Hills which are great for hiking and biking. The rest of the country seems pretty accessible too and weekend trips to Queenstown or Auckland are easy and affordable by plane.

New Zealand is also a really friendly place so it is easy to make friends. In Christchurch there are lots of newbies like me – mainly to help with the rebuild but the hospital and other engineering firms, like mine, are also bringing in lots of new people.

What do you miss most about your home country?

Family. I think that is the same answer for almost every expat I talk to and was the biggest consideration coming here. The time difference also makes it a challenge sometimes to call home so that aspect is not ideal.

There are things you can do to help – I have a couple of nieces who I want to stay close to so, when we do manage to find a good time to call, we play board games – I have a dice which I roll on camera and they make my moves on the board! I know other people read stories together etc and obviously older relatives are good with chatting!

What was your biggest challenge in relocating to New Zealand?

There are several things to juggle, especially if you are trying to line up work before arriving as I was. I have listed the key things I was juggling whilst working full time in the UK:

  • Checking out visas and deciding which route is right for you
  • Finding work (and convincing them that you are a real prospect and committed even though you are overseas)
  • Sorting your house – to sell or to rent is a big question and, if the latter ;

– who is going to manage it?

– what work needs to be done to it?

  • Making sure you have researched enough about the differences with the cost of living

– (NZ is expensive and I am relatively worse off financially but I came here for the quality of life)

  • Managing the difficult news with family

– (here you have to be realistic – you may not see elderly relatives again in person; family with small children are less likely to be able to afford to come to visit you so either you have to return to wherever “home” is at the expense of using your holiday time and money to explore the new area of the world you live in or face the fact that it will be a long time before you see them again – truly difficult.

What is the best experience you have had since arriving in New Zealand?

Several that I can think of;

  • Within the first few days went to see the All Blacks live playing Argentina just down the road from where I lived.
  • Spent some time at the Audi Quattro Winter Games in Queenstown, watching some of the best snowboarders in the world on the halfpipe.
  • Hiking from my doorstep – in my t-shirt in winter (winter here is strange – some days are really warm and others are cold!)

What advice would you give to others who may be contemplating moving to New Zealand?

I don’t think I can advise anyone on whether it is right for them as, just because it was a good idea for me (despite how it may turn out i.e. if it all goes downhill and I decide to move on I don’t regret coming) does not mean it would be for someone else. If you have a family then clearly there are considerations for their well-being which I have not had to take account of.

Fundamentally – do your research. Understand what you want from your lifestyle, environment, work and then evaluate whether the opportunities available meet those requirements. There are lots of areas online for free advice (simple Google Search) and there are also cheap expos (certainly in the UK) where you can get information and where some jobs are advertised.

For anyone wanting to move (anywhere in fact) but are hesitating – take some time to understand why you are hesitating and be honest with yourself. It is normal to fear the unknown and natural to allow that fear to create “reasons” for not doing something which are in reality only excuses – only you will know, deep down, which it is. If you find that they are “excuses” then take the plunge – there will be support along the way, whether it comes from your visa agent, recruitment agent, someone you met on holiday, the person you sit next to on the plane or train next to in the gym, work colleague present or past… the list of sources of help is endless and, truly, the help is there if you look for it.

What was your experience of working with The Talent Hive?

I dealt with Matt Love-Smith and from the start found him to be professional and personable. The time difference between the UK and NZ is less than ideal but a combination of phone calls and emails worked well and I felt well informed throughout the process.

Even after arriving in NZ Matt has stayed in touch to see how I am getting on / settling in and in-fact, picked me up from the airport when I arrived which was a godsend after such a long flight.

As a business they are appointed by the recruiting company, however, their personal interest and manner gives consideration to the candidates too and works well.