From student to resident
Dylan, a Californian Economics graduate chose to stay in New Zealand rather than return to the USA.
I'm Dylan, I'm from Los Angeles California USA and I'm living in Wellington New Zealand
I was looking at countries I could study abroad program in, and everyone seemed to have a New Zealand story - the University of Auckland is very world renown for their Economics programs …
To do the last part of my study I obviously needed a study visa, a student visa. Coming from the States, the process was relatively straightforward. We all got to stay at one of the university hostels at the University of Auckland, Grafton Hall.
I basically switched from hanging out with just the Americans who came on the program to meeting the New Zealanders fresh from university, and that's when I really started to think that New Zealand was going to be the place for me.
After I finished my study and found a job I was looking at ways I could stay in New Zealand longer - the skilled migrant job category allowed me to take my university degree from the United States as well as New Zealand and apply it to finding a job. One of the jobs I applied for was for an analyst at the National Health Committee … one of the reasons I wanted to take the job was because it was in Wellington. I had the opportunity to check out the city and it reminded me a lot actually of San Francisco.
You'd think that New Zealand being such a small country there just wouldn't be the sheer number of places to work - but in reality, you actually have a lot better access to researchers at the top of their field in the country, because it's so small and well-connected, and that's really helped me professionally.
One of the things I found challenging about being in New Zealand, was certainly its isolation. Being only 1 hour plane ride from home doesn't sound like much but you really can realistically only go home once or twice a year if you're lucky
I'm a bit of a weather web so nothing is ever going to be warm enough for me. My house is definitely a bit draughty - but certainly it's nothing that a couple of blankets and a heater can't fix.
The general cost of living in New Zealand is slightly higher than what it was in California, I am doing driving in New Zealand - I do not have major trouble driving on the other side of the road. Certainly parallel parking has been a bit challenging but it certainly made me a better driver - and now I get to drive an ambulance, cause I do some volunteering with the local ambulance company Saint John?
I had an interest in medicine back in the U. S. it's actually been even more rewarding than it was the States.
It has been three years since I first came to New Zealand on my first student visa. Certainly it's lived up to its expectations.
Advice I would give to people who are thinking about coming to New Zealand? Come here first on a working holiday or student visa or just a regular holiday to actually check it out … it's not for everybody but I certainly think it's the way I want to live and that's why I've chosen to live here.