If you have been living in the fast-paced Asian countries such as Malaysia or Hong Kong, you will likely feel that New Zealand is very slow and quiet. This is because most people are relaxed and laid-back, and it also has a very low population density.
This is actually a good thing – but sometimes may cause frustration and depression especially for someone who is new to this environment. In this post, I will write my point of views and give some suggestions for new expats in New Zealand.
My Observation and Experience
At work, there are many social events and most employees finish work at 5pm (with some exceptions). Some young New Zealanders that I met have plans to go overseas for better job opportunities, e.g. UK and Australia.
Some Malaysian friends told me that they want to leave New Zealand because it is ‘boring and uncompetitive’ since the shops usually close at 5pm. You can hardly find things to do at night other than going to pubs/ clubs/ restaurants. The choices of shopping are limited because of the lack of competitions (except Auckland).
For my personal experience, it took a year for a telco company to install fibre internet at Ben’s apartment which is unbelievable! When I make purchase from shops, many staffs like to have endless ‘sweet talk’ causing a long queue behind. I got upset for a few times when the companies did not deliver the service to me on time. I was lonely in quiet Wellington before I met Ben.
But, you can’t have it all!
New Zealand is a very peaceful and safe country. Many locals that I have met are friendly and honest, so I don’t regret living in New Zealand. In addition, New Zealand has offered much more than that, such as:
- New Zealand is the second best country for expat in all criteria, (source: HSBC 2016 Expat Explorer Survey)
- and is one of the countries with best work-life balance for expats as they have some of the shortest working weeks in the world, (source: Independent)
- and is also one of the Top 10 countries with the highest standard of life. (source: Business Insider)
Five suggestions for the new expats
Since I had been living in busy Kuala Lumpur for two decades, it took me a while to be familiar with the new environment. Now I have fallen in love with New Zealand. Here are a few suggestions for the expats who feel New Zealand is slow and boring:
1. Embrace the new environment
It is hard to change other people, but much easier to change yourself/ adjust your mindset. Instead of complaining or blaming about the new environment, why don’t you try to embrace it? We should recognise the difference in different countries and appreciate the opportunity to explore the new culture.
2. Pick up a new hobby
A new hobby that will keep you busy and passionate in your life. For example, I am keeping my blog regularly or otherwise, it would be damn boring for me in New Zealand! By the way, there are so many great activities that you can easily do in New Zealand, such as riding a horse and fishing. So why not start doing it? 🙂
3. Discover new places or cafes
Life is not just about working. It is fun to explore new things in New Zealand. Maybe do some short weekend trips that will refresh your mind and soul.
4. Join Meetup
Meetup is a website for you to meet people in your area. I am not a big fan of Meetup, but I agree that it is a good way to meet new friends who share your interests. Depending on your location in New Zealand, sometimes you will find a Meetup group for newcomers in your place (which is how I met Ben).
5. Do something practical for a change
Not all jobs and people in New Zealand are uncompetitive. For example, I had worked for a very busy project and most of the employees need to work overtime. Different cities may have different characteristics, e.g. I stayed in South Island for a few months and noticed the pace of life was slower in there. So you can look for the job or city that is more suitable for you.
If you really don’t like New Zealand’s environment, perhaps it is time to consider other places – it sounds like a strange decision for me but I appreciate every person’s personality is different. Personally I think New Zealand is a great place for me.
If you are an expat who has been living in New Zealand for some time, feel free to let me know your opinion. 🙂
Recommended Reading: 10 Practical Tips to Fit into the Culture of New Zealand