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Jenna and Jordan: Stoked for Saturday

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in New Zealand makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to New Zealand, etc.

Jordan and I are both engineers who met in 2010 while working and taking our part-time MBA. When we finished school we decided it was the right time for a change and made the move from Guelph, Ontario, Canada to New Zealand in September 2013.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

We initially started our blog and YouTube web series ‘Stoked for Saturday’ as a way for us to share our adventures with our family and friends back home. As more people from all over the world began finding our website and videos, it began to grow into a part time passion for us.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

One of our most popular blogs has been the 3 part series I wrote all about preparing for our departure, getting setup upon arrival and life in general in New Zealand. We’ve had a lot of folks reach out to us asking questions on how we made the move and adjusted to life in New Zealand and this was a way to reflect on our own journey and hopefully help some others along the way.

My personal favorite though is all about my favorite kiwi cuisines in my blog ‘A Taste of New Zealand

Tell us about the ways your new life in New Zealand differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

Overall life in New Zealand is quite similar to Canada. There really wasn’t much of a culture shock as the people are very friendly, it’s English speaking and has similar values and traditions. Although it is English speaking, it definitely took a little while to understand some of the local dialect but that’s been a lot of the fun as well.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in New Zealand? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

The only thing we underestimated about New Zealand was the temperature. I had in my mind it was more tropical so failed to bring some of my true winter clothes. I also didn’t expect the houses to be so poorly insulated. Double glazing and proper insulation are fairly new standards here so despite Wellington never reaching below zero in the winter, our house inside is just as cold as outside when it gets just above freezing.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

A popular phrase in New Zealand to say something is really awesome is by saying ‘sweet as’. I can remember hearing this at work and wondering why people kept saying ‘sweet ASS’ all the time. It seemed pretty inappropriate for work and considering that saying was cool about 15 years ago, I wondered why it kept coming up. I finally asked someone who explained it wasn’t ‘ass’ but ‘as’ and could be used in a variety of ways like ‘cool-as’, ‘hot-as’ or ‘keen-as’ etc. Needless to say that saying has worked its way into my vocabulary and I catch myself using it all the time – I kinda like it!

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in New Zealand?

  • Bring warm clothes – As I mentioned above, it gets colder than you think and unless you get a fairly new house, space heaters and electric blankets will be your new best friends in the winter months
  • Shopping is expensive – With a fairly small population and a country in the middle of the ocean, it’s no wonder things in general are more expensive here. Bring as much as you can with you and be prepared to shop a lot online or wait for sales in stores
  • Be prepared to never want to leave – We underestimated how much we would love it here. Although we miss home dearly, we really love the life we have here and now at some point will have a tough decision as to whether we stay forever or leave before it gets too hard.

How is the expat community in New Zealand? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

There are quite a few organisations around the country for expats. We’ve found a few ‘Canadians in Wellington’ and ‘Canadians in New Zealand’ Facebook groups who organize events. We’ve also done a few activities through Meetup Wellington as well that has both like-minded expats and locals looking to meet up.

How would you summarize your expat life in New Zealand in a single, catchy sentence?

We love adventure, the outdoors and taking advantage of any spare time to explore this beautiful country. 

Serhat Ahmed

"With all of the information that InterNations provided on Wellington, it made my move from Turkey easier than I could have imagined."

Melanie Rasbery

"Since I knew about the active expat network in New Zealand, InterNations made moving to Wellington more exciting than it had seemed before."

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