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Thread: Research Trip - Who's Done One?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Scotch Plains, NJ, USA
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    Smile Research Trip - Who's Done One?

    Hi All!

    I'm planning a two-week trip which, in addition to fun and frolick, will serve as a research trip. Will be in the South Island last week of Sept/first week of Oct.

    I'm wondering who else has done a research trip prior to deciding to 'take the big plunge' and what things you researched and, more importantly, what didn't you research that you wish you had?

    I'd, of course, love the opportunity to meet some folks in person. Perhaps a nice chat over a cup of coffee or other favourite beverage!

    Thanks in advance!


    Russ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Manchester > Now Tauranga
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    Yes we did. 5 weeks in 2008. Probably what we looked at more than if it had been pure holiday was traffic (regarding commute), attitudes, housing, food shopping (we were in a campervan). I also learnt that sun cream is as important as water, and I'm alergic to sand fly bites. Therefore I may not decide to go for a 3 day paddle down the Whanganui river without any DEET again in the future. I learn't that two lattes will take at least 15 minutes to make and be delivered to your table. Significanlty longer if there are any other customers to you in the place, or any evidence that there have been previous customers that day. And even longer if you're the first and they are still setting up. There could well be a market for a mobile refreshment seller to make drinks and snacks for people waiting for drinks and snacks in cafes.

    I wish that we'd gone to Tauranga, as that's where we'll be heading and we missed that (doh!). I didn't make any efforts to meet potential employers as it was too early and would have meant taking smart clothes, etc, and I don't think I regret not meeting them.

    We did make efforts to talk to lots of 'natives', and in part that was helped by knowing a few before we went, and then being at a week long event where there were a mix of internationals like us, and locals. That then meant we got chatting, and friends of friends, etc about life there.

    Won't know if this prepared me at all until mid May!

    But I remember the adaption when I moved from my little village of 30 houses to South Kensignton for university, then again when we moved from the south east with 24 hour shops to Glossop where everything closed at saturday lunch and the nearest B&Q was a 30 minute drive away. You have a 'that's wierd how will I survive' period of a few weeks, 'isn't this quaint' period of a few years and then you forget altogether how odd it all is after that.

    We're glad we did the recce as it gives me more confidence about getting on the plane, not suggesting I know everything or that there won't be difficulties, I expect that. But then perh

  3. #3
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    Mar 2010
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    Scotch Plains, NJ, USA
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    Duncan,

    Fabulous reply, and just what I was hoping for. Looks like it might have been cut off at the end, so perhaps you had even more pearls of wisdom?

    Russ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    36,512

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    I think what you need to research will depend on what matters most to you.

    We didn't go on a recce trip as such, just intended to have a holiday and visit the family. Then, once we realized that we were both up for making the move, we started looking out for the details of existence. Yes, food shopping, as Duncan says, occasional eating out (look out for the Entertainment Books, as there is one for several specific areas of NZ and they can save you a LOT of money on meals and outings http://www.entertainmentbook.com.au/), what kind of vehicles would be best, where we might like to live. We both looked out for groups following our own interests - kept an eye open for posters, and also had a look for internet listings, then checked out where things were in relation to where we might be. Employment isn't an issue as we'll both be retired when we go, but I looked at possibilities for the kind of freelance work that I do.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Doubt is was anything pearl like, but I was about to say that perhaps a bit of worry about the future, is both wise and an essential part of making a move like we're all talking about doing / have done.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Antwerp --> Auckland
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    I was in Auckland last year for six week during which I had my qualifications assessed and took a trip all over the North Island to see if there was a place to settle for me.

    During this trip I also talked a lot to locals, took guided tours everywhere and went out and about at night as much as I could. I also visited a lot of schools as I am a teacher and left my resume behind. To date those schoolsvisits are without any result so I wouldn't do that anymore as it cost me a lot of money, time and effort and for nothing at all in return.

    Upon return home I had some difficulties to settle in again so I returned within 2 months.
    I ended up back in Auckland, now waiting for the outcome of my EOI, selected in February and negotiating on a job offer. The first weeks, however, weren't easy and I recommend to think twice to anyone out there considering it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Bristol, UK -> Nelson!
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    We did a 6 week trip a year before emigrating, 4 weeks on south island and 2 on north. We'd already decided we were probably more south than north type people and the trip confirmed it.

    For each city we thought we might like to live in, we checked out housing (style, cost, availability, surroundings etc), work opportunities (I need a reasonable sized hospital), local amenities (eg zoos, play areas, swimming pools), access to walks & bike trails, "things to do on a weekend", shopping (groceries, clothes, household, odd / esoteric), community "feel"/how safe we felt wandering around, schools, Internet access, travel access (bus/train/plane), what the local teens were doing (as in, what are ours likely to be doing in 10 years!), surroundings/scenery. We assigned arbitrary numbers 0-10 for each category in each area and then at the end of the trip, ranked places in order of points. We also wrote a small paragraph about each place as a memory jogger for when we were back in the UK and took lots of photos.

    For completeness we also ranked the 2 places we'd be likely to end up in the UK if we stayed (Bristol and Bath).

    Our highest ranked area was Nelson (think #2 was Napier/Hastings and #3 was Christchurch) - Auckland came last but even then scored more highly than Bristol! (Bath came just above Auckland but not much in it).

    We figured that where we lived would have a massive bearing on how easily we adapted to migrating. For us this was the best method of hitting on the right place and so far we seem to be doing ok (almost a year in).

    We didn't get as much sightseeing / touristy things in as I'd have liked but we also thought we could spend the next decade or so doing that when it's easier to get to! (that said, all my leave has been spent in & around Nelson so far!)

    I didn't check out jobs while here and it wouldn't have made a difference either way for me. I did check out hospitals (size, cleanliness, what the cafe area was like).

    I don't think there's anywhere I regret visiting. There are lots more places I'd like to visit but as they would only be holiday/sightseeing I'm happy to get round to it as and when.

    We did a lot of reading around before we left to get the shortlist, time well spent.

    Enjoy your trip

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Beachlands NZ
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    Hiya we did our 6 week trip over xmas and did as everyone has already said. Try to work out what you are looking for you in your new life, what is really important to you and what you think you could put up with.

    We didn't do much sight seeing but looked at schools, houses, commutes etc We also tried to talk to the locals lots, we are still in touch with our new friends.

    I met with recruitment consultants (booked in advanced) and tried to chill out - we loved Tauranga, hated Napier, Wellington was cool, Auckland was most like the UK, but I really want space for the kids and easy parking so don't think Aucklands for us!

    Go with an open mind and enjoy the ride.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2009
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    Manchester > Now Tauranga
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    Oh, don't go over Xmas to meet employers, they are all at the beach for a fortnight and everyone is closed. And also, if you go a bit later in the year then don't assume that you can just rock up to any campsite on the Coramandel for easter weekend and expect to find a pitch, as all of Auckland ups sticks and drives around to the opposite side of the bay towing their boat, to then launch it and sail out to the mid point in the bay between Auckland and the Coromandel.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Scotch Plains, NJ, USA
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    13

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by KatieBen View Post
    We assigned arbitrary numbers 0-10 for each category in each area and then at the end of the trip, ranked places in order of points. We also wrote a small paragraph about each place as a memory jogger for when we were back in the UK and took lots of photos.
    Fabulous tips, thanks! I did something similar when I was house hunting a few years back. Guess this is like a big house hunt! I'll have to figure out those things which are most valuable to us and weight the ratings accordingly. I know you can't boil everything down to a number, and in the end, your gut plays a big part in the final decision, but at least some structure helps guide the way.

    Thanks KatieBen!

    Russ

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