Six things I should have prepared before coming to New Zealand


tree, quote, new zealand

When I came to New Zealand to chop a tree, I did not spend enough time sharpening the axe.

I was not prepared.

I learned things the hard way. And I justified myself with a lot of alibis such as:

  • I wished I did my research more before coming here but from where?
  • I have been blogging decades ago but didn’t come across relevant blogs that talk about international students in New Zealand.
  • I wished I asked before I came but from whom? I didn’t know any friend or relative who were already in New Zealand.

So I came here with my axe, full of optimism, faith, courage and determination but the axe was not sharp enough.  In due time it became so dull, that even with my courage, determination and faith, cannot help chop a tree.

I listed here some of the things I should have done to sharpen my axe.

1. Black pants and shoes

Black pants and all-black shoes (slip and skid proof, no, not the one with high heels ladies!) are the staple uniforms required at work, the top is usually provided by the company. These are the essentials in cleaning, working in retail, and hospitality. There are black pants and shoes sold here but they are usually very huge (for my size) and expensive. I bought one myself and regretted not having bought from the Philippines which is a lot cheaper.

2. Driver’s License

A driver’s license is necessary because some jobs require the applicant to drive. I regretted not getting my license in the Philippines. I could have used it in one year. Within the year, I could have converted it to New Zealand Full Driver’s License. Which by the time I finished my studies, I should have a full license and get more job opportunities. Regrets. Regrets.

3. Car

I should have bought a car as well. This means that aside from the maintenance fund required by Immigration New Zealand, I should have a budget for a car as this is handy in times when a job I really like pops up but requires a car. I am scared to drive especially in the Philippines because the motorists are crazy. I took the same phobia here, although I noticed that  it is easy to drive here because the motorists are very disciplined. Their public transport is also efficient but it would have been more convenient to have my own car for mobility.

4. First Aid Training

I learned that this axe is important when I joined a job-search seminar. I missed some of the jobs I wanted to apply because they require first aid training. This is not however very common but it still pays to get one like this from Red Cross New Zealand.

5. CV New Zealand Style

It took me a few months to find a job because I had no idea that they write their curriculum vitae here differently. I only realized later that I should ‘kiwify’ my cv. In the Philippines, we put everything to impress recruiters. Here, you  customise your cv, only put the ones that they require for the job. It would have also been convenient for me to buy my own printer since it takes time to have a cv  printed every time I need one. Even if jobs here are published online, I learned that 80% of the jobs are not published. Walk-in is necessary.

6. Network

I had no friends or relatives that I know who live in New Zealand or more specifically Auckland where I studied. I did not know any facebook groups and did not bother with it. I only met some friends a few months after. I was busy juggling work and studies and I was shy to socialise because I know that they are also busy with their own lives and I did not want to burden them.

My tutor told me, “It is not about what you know, It is whom you know.” She explained that even if I have good grades, hardworking, have the necessary experience, it is not an assurance that I land a job. She was right, I have seen many who does not have the above and still get a job – through their charm and network. Here, the most difficult thing is to land your first job. Networking is thus a foot in the door technique.

Abraham Lincoln was right. Preparation would have made my journey easier here. I should have sharpened my axe for four hours, but I didn’t because I was so excited to chop the tree.

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  1. | 24th Mar 16

    Thank you for these tips. I am flying to New Zealand from the US in November in connection with an educational trip as part of my Global MBA course at Saint Mary’s College of California. I will surely keep these pointers in mind. We might visit Christchurch and/or South Island (?). Would appreciate more tips as they come to mind. Write on and Mabuhay!

    • Pinay Thinks | 25th Mar 16

      Thank you for reading my blog. Goodluck on your future trip. South Island is a really really beautiful place. You should come.

  2. | 27th Mar 16

    I’m a student in Auckland, too… Do you mind if I ask what school are you enrolled and what course are you taking?

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