Julia Cooke

Julia's Migrant Interview 

What made you want to move to New Zealand?

We had never been, but we always wanted to immigrate somewhere and we had a look at Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

We weighed up the pros and cons for each one, looked at what employment there was, what the climates were like and how culturally different they were going to be and where we would have the best chance of settling.
We ruled out Canada because I don’t like extreme cold, ruled out Australia because we don’t like snakes, spiders or extreme heat.
New Zealand has no nasties, the climate is similar to Europe, definitely better though. So that’s why we chose New Zealand.

When you arrived in New Zealand, what were the first two or three things you noticed?

Everything looked bright, the sun was shining and arriving in Nelson was pretty dazzling. The lack of traffic - everything was just much slower.

My first experience was probably when Maddy joined kindergarten and I met the other mothers. They were really nice, they helped me find places to take her. Her being only 3, I wasn’t sure about what kind of play groups were available, so they were really great.

What did you think about the work/life balance in New Zealand compared with the UK?

 It was quite a culture shock from going a million miles per hour to taking a lot slower pace and there is a work/life balance here more stress towards the life part and people take their free time seriously. You work to live and not live to work and I like that.

Was it easy to set up your life? Find a house? 

Yes, but you can easily make a mess of it because we came and rented a holiday house, which I wouldn’t recommend other people to do. We chose that option because of Maddy being so young, so we wanted to be in a furnished house with everything in it so that she would have somewhere to play. But in hindsight that was a very expensive way to do it, so I would definitely find a cheaper way to do the initial period. We always knew we wanted to buy a house so we didn’t really want our money getting spent on other things.
But that is something to do your homework on and there should be more research done for that sort of thing.

What were the low points? Or the hardest moments?

I haven’t had any, neither has Andrew. We were both set in our heads that that’s what we wanted to do, so we never had a single doubt at any point. We never had home sickness like a lot of people do at some point in their journey.

How did you bring your belongings to New Zealand, your furniture for example?

We brought a twenty foot container over and I would definitely do that again, because it just made settling a bit easier for me. Having all my personal belongings around me made it feel familiar.

When you go back to the UK after having lived in New Zealand for a number of years now, what are the things you notice?

Chaos, over crowded. It was claustrophobic because everything is so close together and compact. Traffic and dirt. Everything looks so grubby and grimy in the cities, we don’t get that here.

Overall how do you think your life is different now compared to how it would have been if you had stayed in the UK?

So different. There is no materialism here, nobody cares what you drive, no one cares what you wear. I just like that freedom of not being pressured by what next door has got. Just a work/life balance that is nice. We have time. We wouldn’t have that in the UK. Your weekends are eaten up by grocery shopping and you spend half your life stuck in traffic, you don’t here.

How old was your daughter when you came? How did she react and how is her life different in New Zealand compared with how it would have been in the UK?

Maddy was three. She didn’t really take anything on board. Sadly she doesn’t remember anything about the UK, only our last trip there. She adapted really well. She didn’t really know any different, she didn’t really realize much had changed. Her toys were here, everything she was familiar with was here, apart from the people.

She does a lot of extra activities outside of school, which she would not have been able to do in the UK, because Andrew and I would have both been tied up with work commitments and would not have been able to take her. We would not have been able to devote that time to her. 

The schooling is completely different. I think the way they teach here is relaxed and the children actually enjoy going to school. I like seeing them sit outside in the playground having their lessons out in the sun. She just loves school and I don’t think she would have in the UK.

Any advice for families coming over with children?

Yes, look into the schools, do your homework on the school areas, there wasn’t really a bad one, but it was worth researching which one works for you because they are all slightly different. They all have pros and cons. Join in as much as possible, get your children trying everything.

How long have you been at New Zealand Immigration Concepts?

Since 2007.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It is interesting, there is never a dull moment and the people are wonderful!

What is the hardest part of your job?

Sometimes not meeting client expectations, when they are not realistic about their plans.

Is there anything you would do different if you started the process again?

Just the house, I would definitely research that more to save some money.

Have you got any advice for others immigrating?

Come for the right reasons, don’t come here to get rich, it is not that sort of country. Come here for a good quality of life, a good family environment, to bring your kids up safe in a good country where they are free to run around.




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