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From Canada to New Zealand: CanuckiwiKate

09 May, 2013 09:28  Erin Erin

CanuckiwiKate pic Kia ora, I'm Kate! I'm Canadian (we're affectionately known as Canucks, although I haven't actually figured out why) and I've been living in New Zealand since January 2009. After all that time living with and teaching little ones, I think I've become a bit of a Kiwi myself, so when I started my blog in January 2012, I called it CanuckiwiKate.

1. Why did you move abroad?
I'd always wanted to be a teacher. I started my Bachelor of Arts with the intention of doing a concurrent Bachelor of Education, beginning in second year. When I sent my application for the concurrent program away at the end of first year, knowing that you needed a 75% overall average to be considered, I joking told everyone "if I don't get in, I'll just go overseas and study."   My average came out at a 74%. All of the sudden, I now had 3 years to figure out my next move, which after lots of research, lead me to New Zealand. It was meant to be, and moving here was one of the best decisions I ever made.

2. How do you make a living?
I'm a primary school teacher. I spend my days with 6 year olds,  teaching reading, writing and maths by day, and planning and battling paperwork up to my eyeballs by evening/weekend. I did a one year post grad diploma at Otago University in Dunedin, in 2009 and was fortunate enough to land myself a job after graduation - at the other end of the country, in the Far North of Northland. This beautiful area alone keeps me busy, as I love exploring the diversity and natural beauty in  

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?  

I am shocking at ringing home. It has definitely gotten easier catching up with my family now that my mum, dad and sister all have iPhones, as the iMessaging is so conveniently cheap, and FaceTime is more reliable than Skype. We usually have a video chat every couple of weeks - probably about once a month.

I  am even worse at writing letters and mainly use Facebook and my blog to share stories and photos with friends.

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in New Zealand ?
I love exploring. New Zealand is such a fascinating country - it's got remarkably drastic landscapes, each more stunning than the last. There's a photo-op around every corner. I also love being completely submersed in the Kiwi culture, it's so easy-going and laid back, it fits me and my take on life.

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in New Zealand?  
Paying to be here and dealing with the Immigration. Even the simplest of things can be made complicated, and every time it just gets more and more expensive. But I'm not bitter.

6. What do you miss most?

I generally suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), I've been away from home for over 8 years, I miss being a part of celebrations and events with my family and friends, rather than just seeing photos. And home cooking - my nan is absolutely amazing, and my parents are both huge foodies as well, they're always creating and experimenting with something new in the kitchen.  

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Initially when I came to New Zealand, making friends wasn't too difficult as I had a small class of 23 training to be teachers. We quickly became a close knit group, and I've kept in contact with many of them years after going our separate ways.  When I moved to a small rural area in the Far North, I soon learned there were not many people my age around. Luckily,  through a mutual friend I met another girl who'd gone to the same university I had in Dunedin. We instantly became mates and together started exploring and attending every event around. We chatted to locals, and pretty soon could drop names and make connections. Working in a school was a great way to get amongst the community as well.

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?  
I did find the fact that shoes were not mandatory in shops/restaurants to be quite different, coming from the saying "No shirt, no shoes, no service" back home; that does not apply here! That being said, I've completely embraced life barefoot and have been known to head off to the shop without my shoes!

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That New Zealand and Australia are one in the same. It took me a while, but I can now hear the subtle differences in accents, and perhaps the kiwi patriotism has rubbed off me, but I stand by New Zealanders who defend that things like the pavlova are 'theirs'.

10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?

It's higher here in New Zealand -food and make up instantly come to mind as ridiculously overpriced, along with public internet access, which is limited and frustratingly slow. Since I've been gone so long, and was but a poor university student before leaving, I do feel like my comparisons may be slightly off - but I've had plenty of visitors that marvel at the fact that I pay what I do compared to home.  

11. What advice would you give other expats?

Get amongst the culture! Get out there, give everything a go, be involved, have fun and make the most of your experience! And try not to compare it too much to home, embrace your new country for what it is. 

12. When and why did you start your CanuckiwiKate New Zealandblog?  
I started CanuckiwiKate in January 2012, just for fun to document my adventures and share my  love of New Zealand and travel. I've recently moved from Blogspot to self hosting, and I'm about to embark on my first planned trip home in over 4 years. I'm taking my Kiwi boyfriend to see Canada, as we drive from Vancouver to Halifax. I'll be sharing our adventures along the way, so be sure to check it out and follow us!

Blog LinkKate's blog, CanuckiwiKate

 Guide for expatriates in Auckland, New Zealand

 Find out more about being an expat in New Zealand with Easy Expat's

Auckland Guide


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