Naida moved from Moscow to the New Zealand city of Auckland when she felt that she needed to change something in her life. At the time, she was working as a Pricing Analyst for a renowned international company with an excellent team and office in a prestigious business center. Leaving everything and moving to the other side of the world was not easy. As part of a series of materials about Russians abroad, Lenta.ru talks about her life in New Zealand.
The idea of moving to New Zealand came about by accident. I wanted to live a year or two in an English-speaking environment, bring my knowledge of the language to perfection, study a little the culture of another country, and then be sure to return to my homeland. I was only looking at Australia and Canada until I came across a LinkedIn profile of a person from Moscow, who listed English courses in New Zealand in the Education section. I wondered: what made him go to distant lands when it is more convenient to find courses in the UK or Malta?
I contacted a representative of the New Zealand school where he studied, and learned that after graduation there is an opportunity to do an internship at a local company. I began to study the issue in more detail, contacted a Russian-speaking agent in New Zealand who helps students from around the world to come to study in this country. Moreover, this service is absolutely free: I was met at the airport, helped to organize accommodation and even presented an adapter for electrical appliances – a trifle, but nice!
I decided to study in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, home to about a third of the country’s population. It stands on 50 volcanoes – all of them, of course, have long died out and look more like mounds covered with bright green grass. The most popular is the island-volcano Rangitoto, which appeared less than a thousand years ago, when Maori already lived in these places. And after a working day, I really like to walk to the crater of the extinct Mount Eden volcano. Full buses of tourists came here in dockyard times – this is such a local landmark 30 minutes walk from the house.
I will say right away: the country is not for everyone. Even Auckland may seem like a large one-story village to the inhabitants of megacities.
The city is larger than Moscow in area, and its population is only 1.7 million. At first I was surprised by the local shopping centers: how tiny they are! And now, when I come to Moscow, huge shopping centers quickly tire, and I want to leave as soon as possible.
Many more think that it is always warm in New Zealand. This is not the tropics for you, friends! I arrived here at the end of May, when the local winter just comes into its own. The air temperature was about plus 15 Celsius, and I was as cold as I was not at minus 10 in winter in Moscow! I was often asked: “Are you definitely from Russia ?! Why are you freezing in freezing temperatures? “
New Zealand has a damp and cold climate, especially during the rainy season. And yet there is no central heating, and houses are heated with the help of so-called heat pumps – in fact, simply air conditioners turned on for heating. But I’m already used to the local cold, sometimes I can walk in sneakers on my bare feet in winter. You can even meet people swimming in the ocean in winter, or surfers. By the way, kite surfing lovers would appreciate the local weather.
I am glad that winter does not last long, there is no snow, the sun often shines, and everything is green all year round. Moreover, different vegetation blooms in each season – and it is so pleasing to the eye!
Education for international students in New Zealand is expensive, but it is more profitable to study there than in the countries that I initially considered. In addition, after studying, a visa is issued to search for work, that is, it is completely legal to stay here for some time, if not forever. You can even earn extra money while studying, if time permits and the visa that you were issued with.
New Zealand has a completely different approach to learning. The emphasis is not on lectures and practical exercises, as in Russia, but on self-preparation. For me and many other students it was unusual: they say, what are we paying for then?
Self-reliance is taught here. Yes, there are lectures – they will read them to you, give you introductory material. And then for each subject you pass Assignment – something like a coursework. We even had a test that allowed the use of notes, and, imagine, one student managed to fail him too. But you can’t write off your neighbor. They use special services to check for plagiarism. If you fail the test, you need to pay the school for a retake.
After receiving my diploma, I immediately began looking for work in my specialty. I graduated to become a programmer – I graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science in Russia. As a result, I quickly found a job at an IT startup and became a software tester.
Thanks to local education and work in my specialty, I was able to score the required number of points to obtain a residency (residence permit). But after about a year and a half, I realized that I was again drawn to the corporate environment. Then I found a job in the finance department of a major FMCG player in the global market. The office and production facilities of our company are also represented in Moscow, and I think everyone knows our products.
Due to the low crime rate and the absence of corruption, New Zealand occupies top positions in the welfare ratings of the countries of the world from year to year. Most of the locals are very welcoming and friendly. You can easily have small talk in the park – for example, talking to someone walking the dog. I often talk with shop assistants, and sometimes I hear from young workers in cafes or shops that it turns out that I inspire them – so brave, I have moved to the other end of the planet, and they are even afraid to go to Australia alone.
At first it was difficult for me to understand the locals, as they are very fond of chattering. In addition, there is a kind of slang that even people from English-speaking countries will not immediately understand. But when New Zealanders see my lost sight, they immediately try to speak more clearly and more slowly. Sometimes there are impatient comrades, but this is rather an exception to the rule.
New Zealand cuisine is mainly Fish-n-Chips, which means fish in batter and fries. Therefore, the cultural diversity of the country is very pleasing, because you can taste the cuisines of any country. And the restaurants are good here. True, not cheap, but the tip is already included in the price.
I really love to cook and have already managed to hook my New Zealand friends to the Dagestan miracle, borsch and dumplings. So far they are wary of the Shuba salad
With familiar products – no problem. Firstly, there are several Russian shops where you can find buckwheat, marshmallow, and freshly baked Borodino bread. Secondly, even New Zealand supermarkets began to see, for example, herring, which was impossible to buy for the first two years. Because of this, “Shuba” had to be cooked with canned salmon (by the way, it’s also delicious).
There is a lack of speed of service and quality services in the beauty industry. But, as far as I know, in this New Zealand is not too different from other developed countries, where Russian girls often complain about the same problems. And even locals often praise the craftsmen from the CIS countries who work here.
I am often asked if I miss my homeland. Of course, I miss you! Russia will always be in my heart. I really miss my family and my friends. This is especially felt now, during a pandemic. Fortunately, we can always contact online.
Will I stay here forever? .. I realized that “forever” is some kind of wrong word. In my life, at times there have been changes that I did not expect at all. I myself don’t know where tomorrow will take me. In the meantime, I will enjoy life in this beautiful little country.
In more detail about the peculiarities of life in New Zealand, I tell you on my Instagram – @kiwi_nai.
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