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Julia: Expat Stories: The Search for Hobbits

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.

I am a recent college grad from the States currently living and working in Wellington, NZ. With the rough job climate right now, I decided to go on an adventure since finding a job back home wasn’t working out.

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

I decided to start blogging about my move out here right before I came out here. It was mostly a way for me to keep my family back home updated about my life. I also wanted to reach out to others who may be going through a similar life experience. Thinking you’re alone in this sort of transition is the hardest part.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I am a big fan of my Thanksgiving post, as I know this is a holiday most Americans have to come together on when they’re abroad.

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?

As this is the first year where I’ve not been in school, working full time is the biggest change for me. I also am having difficulties getting used to having my seasons switched. I’m still not used to having Christmas in the summer!

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?

I only would have changed how I went about job-hunting, I think. I think I was prepared for everything other than how long it takes to hear back from jobs. I probably would have also brought more money with me as a cushion for the time I didn’t have a job.

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

One of the funniest experiences for me was introducing Thanksgiving to Kiwis. The biggest concern of theirs was the sweet potato (kumara) casserole. How is this a sweet thing, yet you eat it with dinner? Why are there marshmallows on this?? Such questions never ceased, and for us Americans, this isn’t a dish that is questioned - it’s just always there. I always love to try new foods, and so for me to see someone else trying new foods that are standard for us, that was entertaining and exciting.

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

  • If you are moving to Wellington, be prepared for the wind and hills.
  • If you are just moving to NZ, beware the expensive food and drink - I wish I had known that it cost $7 for an average beer at the pubs here.

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

For me, I found an expat gathering through an organization called Adventure Wellington. I’ve mostly met Brits, Americans, Germans, and Canadians through this group. Everyone is extremely friendly, and I have felt a togetherness amongst all of us expats. There are a lot of expats, especially Germans and Austrians, in Wellington, though I’m not sure how else to meet more of them.

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

My NZ expat life has been a way for me to experience all the things I would never experience back home.

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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