Leaving your home and friends and venturing into the unknown is certainly something you want to prepare well for and not take lightly. Once you’ve set foot in any new country (in this example the enchantingly beautiful country known as New Zealand), your immediate task should be settling into your new environment and making the most of it. For some people, the settling in process is very easy: But not so for others. You are in a completely new place, meeting new people, learning about a new culture and possibly working in a strange environment. I’m here to help you get settled faster and live like a local before you know it.
How to Live Like a Local
1. Eat the local food
When in New Zealand, eat like a New Zealander. New Zealand has a wide variety of local dishes that will definitely look strange to a foreigner, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious. In fact, once you taste the iconic pavlova dish and locally brewed beers, you will find them hard to resist. An obvious sign that you have settled in New Zealand is when you are comfortable eating the local dishes. While you will find a lot of familiar dishes and ingredients, make sure you also try the traditional Maori dishes and local fruit.
2. Get out of the city
It’s common knowledge that New Zealanders love the outdoors. In fact, there is hardly a weekend or holiday that will not see New Zealanders spending time outdoors. Don’t be accused of being a city slicker, get out of the city and visit any of the many exciting sights New Zealand is known for.
You can jump aboard a ferry in Auckland and zip over to Waiheke Island. This is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand and is well worth a visit. Or you can stay in Auckland and walk up Mount Eden for a panoramic view of the whole city. Another good idea is to skydive over some of the most beautiful views in New Zealand – make sure you are properly covered for all the things you are going to do though. You can visit Insurance Air New Zealand or a similar insurance site to find out how.
3. Network at work
You would be very unique if you didn’t feel lonely and out of sorts in a new place. You will definitely stand out at work and in your locality, but that is no reason to isolate yourself. The more quickly you make new friends, the easier it will be to assimilate.
Even if no one is making a move, make it first. Walk up to people, introduce yourself and make friends. Organise after work get-togethers, a weekend picnic and fun group activities. New Zealanders are great people and will not turn down an opportunity to socialise.
Volunteer in your new community, join local clubs, visit the gym and don’t be averse to a bit of gossip, as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.
- Looking for work? Check out all the latest Jobs for Backpackers (valid work visa essential!)
4. Get involved in sport
New Zealanders love their sports, especially cricket and rugby. Depending on where you lived before, it may take you some time to understand the rules of these sports but, when you do, you will enjoy them as much as the locals. There are lots of rugby competitions in New Zealand from March to October every year and you can catch games at stadia like Mt Smart Stadium or Eden Park in Auckland, but you can also watch your favourite teams on the TV in a pub with the locals. And if you’re having problems understanding how rugby is played, there is always the watersports (regatta) to keep your interest.
You know you’ve started to live like a local when you find yourself spending most of your spare time outdoors. New Zealanders are known for their love of the outdoors, adventure and all kinds of fun. It is no surprise that one of the cities in New Zealand is known as the adventure capital of the world. Now that you are in New Zealand, do your best to embrace the outdoor lifestyle. Make friends and join them for a work-free weekend of hiking, watching rugby or spending some time at the beach. Or enjoying some of the local musicians and comedians in the bars and clubs spread all over the country.
Author: James is a travel enthusiast and business psychologist and loves to write about some of the most exciting experiences and cultural uniqueness of the places he has visited.