23 August 2016

Aroune Heunthep - Expat in Auckland, New Zealand

Aroune Heunthep - Expat in Auckland, New Zealand

We’ve had the chance to talk to Aroune Heunthep, 37, a French expat who has moved to New Zealand alone. Mr. Heunthep, who has been living there for five years, now works as an IT.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: France


Q: What made you move out of  France?

A: Looking for new opportunities abroad.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: Auckland Central


Q: How long have you been living in New Zealand?

A: Five years


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in New Zealand.

A: My first year, finding a job in my field (IT) was not easy because I hadn’t had any experiences.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance were particularly difficult in New Zealand? What was your experience with these?

A:  It could be difficult indeed. 


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: I live alone.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in New Zealand? How did you manage to find a social circle in New Zealand?

A: It’s very easy to meet people and make new friends. People in general are quite easy going. As I work for a local company, I don’t really get to meet expats from France.

However, I have met a lot of people from New Caledonia and French Polynesia.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: So many things to do actually. If you like outdoor activities. This is the perfect place! You can go hiking all around for example. Many choices to choose from. You can also enjoy life in the city, tons of cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars.


Q: How does the cost of living in New Zealand compared to France?

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: In average around 4 NZD

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Around 10 NZD

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Around 50 NZD

  • How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: There a wide range of wine, you can find a good bottle of wine for around 15 NZD.

I don’t smoke, so I don’t know about the price for cigarettes.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Locals are easy going but quite reserve. It’s not that easy to be really friends unless you spend time with them.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in New Zealand?

A: Compare to Paris, life in New Zealand is so much relax. Everything you do feels much easier like renting an apartment, buying a car or paying your taxes.

For me personally, the only negative side is that New Zealand is so far from France. I don’t get to see my family often.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: I do.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: We try to get in touch as much as we can. I have my family on the phone once a week and sometimes on Skype.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Yes I do plan to move back home at some point.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: The hardest aspect has been to find a job when you don’t have any previous experience in the country.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in New Zealand?

A: If you struggle, don’t give up. New Zealand has so much to offer. It’s a small country, so networking can really help you.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about New Zealand?

A: The website Frogs-in-NZ is one of the most notorious websites for French people who want to settle in New Zealand.