British Expat Living in New Zealand - Interview with Josie

Published: 25 Aug at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,New Zealand
Josie is from York in the UK and moved to Wellington New Zealand in July of 2016 after living in London for 3 years. Her blog Lost in Silver Fern shares expat experiences as well as tips and advice for what to see and do in Wellington and New Zealand as a whole. Josie's expat blog is called Lost in Silver Fern (see listing here)

Josie at Wanaka after skiing Treble Cone
Josie at Wanaka after skiing Treble Cone

Here's the interview with Josie...


Where are you originally from?
I'm from York, but I have lived all over including Manchester, London, Melbourne and Toronto.

In which country and city are you living now?
I'm living in Wellington, New Zealand.

How long have you lived in New Zealand and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived here for just over a year now, but the future is a little uncertain. We have no plans to leave but who knows what will happen in the future. My current visa is for two years.

Josie at Wellington Harbour
Josie at Wellington Harbour
Why did you move to New Zealand and what do you do?
I moved for the adventure, but also to be with my boyfriend Lucas, who is from Australia. It was easier for us to both get visas and come and live in New Zealand for a while.

Did you bring family with you?
No family sadly, they are all back in the UK.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Suprisingly, it was super easy here in NZ. Finding a job and a home and settling in all came very easily for me and Lucas. We thought it would be a lot harder to find our feet. There have been some difficulties but over all it's been a very smooth transition and we have loved it.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Making friends has been one of the hardest parts. It's not really easy to make friends when you are in a couple and have absolutely no contacts when you arrive. But it has happened slowly.

It is hard not to socialise with other expats as there are so many here. Especially the Brits, we are everywhere!

Josie sitting overlooking Lake Taupo
Josie sitting overlooking Lake Taupo
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Any outdoors pursuits you are interested in, New Zealand is the perfect place for this. Hiking, fishing, skiing, surfing? It is all here!

As for Wellington, it is perfect if you like independent film, theatre, coffee generally cultural activities. It is all here but in a nice, small and manageable size so you can walk everywhere.

What do you enjoy most about living in New Zealand?
I enjoy the size of Wellington and the fact that there are not many people. After coming here from London where it was just a little bit manic, it is so nice to be able to walk to work in 20 minutes and not have to battle with so many people to get to work.

How does the cost of living in New Zealand compare to home?
It isn’t necessarily more expensive here in NZ but there are just no cheap options. For example back home I would go to Aldi or Ikea or order things from Ebay and save money. I don’t really have that option here.

Wellington at sunset
Wellington at sunset
What negatives, if any, are there to living in New Zealand?
I hate to say it but the weather in Wellington has a lot to answer for. However, on that rare good day in here in Welly, the city comes to life and the harbour especially is a beautiful place to be. When it is like this, you forget all about the wind and rain for a little while!

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to New Zealand, what would it be?
I would say, try not to worry, things will work out. There are opportunities here and with a little time you will find your feet. I feel like we spend so much time worrying that it will all work out and we forget to enjoy the journey. I am definitely guilty of this.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Leaving my family and friends at home is hard. But I have done it a few times before so I am a little bit used to it. My family are coming to visit soon which will be amazing, but it is definitely hard not having them around much. I miss them.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
It would be hard for sure. Life is so easy here and I am finding more and more opportunities here. I'm not sure the same would be available at home and this would be hard.

Josie in the botanical gardens Wellington, getting lost in the trees!
Josie in the botanical gardens Wellington, getting lost in the trees!
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Don't move to Wellington in February. This is when all the students move and the housing market is all a bit mad. Wait until a different time of year when the competition isnt quite so crazy.
  2. If you have lots of furniture that you own in your home country and you are coming permanently, I would consider shipping it, as buying things like furniture can be expensive in New Zealand.
  3. Sign up with job agencies so you can do some temp work before you find a longer more permanent role in your field. This way you can start earning straight away.
  4. Stay in an Air BnB for your first little while in the country. You can find a good deal if you do a long term rental and this way you have some time to look for the right place without being locked into somewhere. You can use this code: www.airbnb.co.nz/c/jmccrickard to get some discount on your first booking.
  5. Think about spending some time travelling around before you settle down, because once you get locked into work, it's much harder to get out of it and explore and you'll feel like doing this all the time, because there is so much to see in New Zealand.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
The goal for Lost in Silver Fern is to share information and advice with others moving to Wellington and to New Zealand, to make it a little bit easier. Alongside expat advice, I share tips and insights for those already living in the little city.

Even though becoming an ‘expat’ is going global, the focus for this blog is very much local; buying local, experiencing local and just generally being a local.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can contact me through:
Facebook @lostinsilverfern
Instagram @lostinsilverfern.nz

I look forward to connecting with you! Good luck with your expat venture.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingJosie is a British expat living in New Zealand. Blog description: A Yorkshire Gal in Wellington shares stories of the city of Wellington, travel, nature, expat advice and all things that come with the reality of living local in NZ.
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