InterNations Featured Blog
Travis and Amber: Broken Luggage
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to New Zealand, etc.
Our names are Travis and Amber. We’re an American couple who moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 2009.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
We started blogging a few months after moving to New Zealand because it was cheaper and easier to write one blog for all of our family and friends to read than contacting everyone individually, but over time our target audience changed to the expat community.
We don’t post photo itineraries of how we spent last weekend. Our blog focuses mainly on travel tips and advice for moving to New Zealand. We keep posting in the hope that we can help make someone else’s move to New Zealand a little easier than ours was.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours ?
- People kept asking us, “How did you do it?” So we wrote a blog that explains how we did it. Even though this blog is about New Zealand the advice is pretty universal.
- These are 12 general tips for people actively moving.
- Here’s a brief explanation on how to live and work in a foreign country temporarily.
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?
Our life isn’t much different than it was in America. We still spend our days at work, our evenings at home, and on the weekends we do things around town. We just drive on the left hand side of the road to get to all those places.
We didn’t experience much culture shock because Kiwi culture isn’t too different from America, and we’d both done a lot of traveling before moving to New Zealand. What we had a harder time with was “system shock.” By that I mean figuring out how to use the phones, the postal system, the legal system, the currency conversions, the metric conversion and driving on the left hand side. Figuring out how everything works all over again took a little while.
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?
We did a lot of research before moving, and we were still woefully unprepared. If we could do it all over again we still would, but we would bring at least $20,000. We would have done more research on how to write a resume using New Zealand standards. We wouldn’t have sold absolutely everything we owned before moving to New Zealand. We would have left more of it with our families to ship over later. And we would have watched more New Zealand television before leaving America.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Travis enrolled in a university in New Zealand, and a student advisor asked him if we wanted to take a free mini-course designed to teach freshmen basic study skills. Travis told the advisor he’d already been to three years of college and didn’t need to go over basic study skills again. The advisor strongly urged he take the course, but Travis declined it. A few days later he remembered that in New Zealand “college” means “high school.” Whereas in America “college” means “university.” So effectively, Travis had just told his advisor he didn’t need to learn basic study skills because he’d already been to three years of high school.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in New Zealand?
- Bring as much money as possible.
- Socialize as much as you can with the locals.
- Keep in mind that adversity is adventure.
How is the expat community in New Zealand? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
New Zealand is a melting pot of expats. Half your coworkers will be expats from all around the world. There are plenty of meetup groups that you can easily find on the internet too.
How would you summarize your expat life in New Zealand in a single, catchy sentence?
It’s less stressful than living in America.