1 August 2016

Miko Santos - Expat in New Zealand

Miko Santos - Expat in New Zealand

We’ve had the chance to talk to Miko Santos, 38, a Filipino expat who have moved to New Zealand with her children.

While it took some time for Mrs. Santos to get used to the local slang and culture, she finds the people in the country very friendly. She has also made friends with fellow expats through social media platforms. From craft beers and great coffee to history sites, there are lots to be discovered in New Zealand. The cost of living and quality of life are also satisfactory, in her opinion.

However, Mrs. Santos said, “Getting the visa was particularly difficult – you need to be skilled, meet lots of requirements such as IELTS, education assessment, medical and more. Once you get a work or residence visa, you need to find the right job based on the occupational list that you nominated for to apply for a permanent visa. If not after nine months, there will be no more visa extensions.”

Read more about Mrs. Santos’s experiences as an expat in New Zealand, in the full interview below.

 

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Zambales, Philippines.

 

Q: What made you move out of Philippines?

A: For a good life and the future of my kids, to give them the opportunities. We like to joke that it is because of the movie “Lord of the Rings”.

 

Q: Where are you living now?

A: Wellington.

 

Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Based on an international survey, NZ is one of the liveable cities in the world and according to Lonely Planet, it is the coolest little capital.

 

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

A: Six years now.

 

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

A: Adjusting to new culture and language. They talk fast and have a different slang here.

 

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: Health insurance is easy but getting the visa was particularly difficult – you need to be skilled, meet lots of requirements such as IELTS, education assessment, medical and more. Once you get a work or residence visa, you need to find the right job based on the occupational list that you nominated for to apply for a permanent visa. If not after nine months, there will be no more visa extensions.

 

Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: With my family. The first six months was a little difficult but after that, they have all adjusted to the way of life.

 

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

A: Kiwis are the friendliest people I ever met. I socialise with other expats whom I have found through Twitter or Facebook as well.

 

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

A: In Wellington, fishing I guess. They can discover stories at Te Papa, enjoy the 360-degree view from the top of Mount Victoria, and check out the best bar and restaurant in the city. We’re also known as the craft beer capital and for our legendary coffee. You can also ride the historic Wellington cable car or travel back in time at the Zealandia sanctuary in Karori. Check out our world famous movie making magic at the Weta Cave. Cruise down Cuba Street, which is home to hipsters and artists, and wander around the waterfront to Oriental Bay. Don’t forget to visit the Wellington Zoo as well!

 

Q: How does the cost of living in New Zealand compare to your home?

A: The cost of living here is not to high compared to my home country.

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

$4 for a flat white.

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

From $6 to $12.

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

From $14 to $36.

  • How much is a bottle of wine?

$8 - $11.

  • How about a pack of cigarettes?

$18.25.

 

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

A: The positive side is the higher standard of living compared to the Philippines, a developing country. I think the negative side is that our kids sometimes forget their own cultures while living here but I always remind them where they came from.

 

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Yes of course, particularly during Christmas season. Back home, the Christmas season starts in September.

 

Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Attend gatherings with the Filipino community.

 

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

A: Actually, I’m moving to Australia for work.

 

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

A: Just the adjustment to a new country. In short, everything was back to zero again.

 

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

A: Enjoy life and your host country. Give back something to the community, especially the people who had helped you settle in.

 

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

A: