Once you move to a new country and put the hassle of immigration behind you, the struggle of settling in begins. It is hard enough settling into a new city within your own country, but an entirely different country brings with it the challenge of understanding a different culture, different rules and regulations, and different practices you may not be familiar with. This can prove challenging for most people, and it may be especially so if you haven’t made a major move before.
However, New Zealand is renowned for its welcoming and accepting community, which might make it considerably easier for you to settle in and find comfortable ground. That being said, a certain degree of culture shock – however faint – is inevitable. It is natural to go through various emotional stages before, during, and after the settling in process, regularly moving back and forth between feeling happy and scared, before finally becoming comfortable in your new home. Of course, this is not a linear progression, and you may find difficult emotions pop up right when you feel you have made real progress. This could make the experience more confusing, and talking to someone at this stage will often prove helpful.
If you’re moving with a partner, the process could be made considerably easier, but look for challenges that may crop up as one or both parties experience feeling homesick or vulnerable. Being aware of these emotions and finding a constructive way to put them into words can really help a couple find solutions to these problems collectively.
If you have children, setting a safe and secure life for them will be among your top priorities. However, in New Zealand, you don’t need to deal with these concerns all by yourself, owing to well-developed parenting support within the country. Parent Centres are a viable option, and easily accessible since they are available nationwide. You could also consider exploring websites such as Kiwi Families.
Understanding the customs and culture of a country are an essential part of settling in, and often, the hardest. Familiarise yourself with the culture of New Zealand – observe, socialise, and definitely ask a resident Kiwi for help if confusions persist. Gradually you will learn the elements that comprise the culture, as well as the unwritten rules.
In New Zealand, the indigenous Maori culture plays an essential role in influencing the culture, and it is important that you take this into account if you wish to remain in the country long-term. Familiarise yourself with the language – as much as you can – as well as the practices. To this end, you could visit a local museum or a marae, a trip which can be organised by the Maori Maps website.
Though you will be very busy at the beginning, don’t forget to socialise, be it at work or within your new community. Socialising with native residents can help you understand the community better, as well as find other immigrants in similar situations to yours who can share with you lessons they have learned. There are also numerous newcomers networks which will help you ease into the community.
Moving to a new country means taking in and assimilating several cultural and communal markers within yourself. While this may prove challenging, New Zealand makes it comparatively easy – the friendliness of the native residents combined with numerous support organisations can help ease the way. ⋆