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Expat Interviews : A Psychiatrist in New Zealand

Today we meet Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, a psychiatrist from the United States who has lived in New Zealand since 2002. Here Stuart tells us why Americans living in New Zealand should be careful what they say and provides some really useful tips for people who are interested in moving to New Zealand.

Where are you currently living?
New Zealand

Where in the world were you born?
U.S.

Why did you move overseas and why did you choose your host country? 
Political and economic reasons. I was unwilling to have my tax dollars go to fund 2 illegal wars of aggression (Iraq and Afghanistan) and Bush made major cuts in Medicare and Medicaid funding (my main source of income) to increase defense spending.

How long have you been living in your host country? 
Since 2002

Who did you relocate with?
I came alone.

Was it hard to get a visa for your host country that was appropriate to your circumstances?
No, they had a shortage of medical specialists.

What is the medical care like in your host country? Do you need medical insurance and, if so, how much is it? 
They have free publicly funded health care here. Private medical insurance is unnecessary.

How do you make your living in your host country?
I work as a psychiatrist

Do you speak the local language and do you think it’s important to speak the local language? 
They speak English here.

Are there any local customs, laws or traditions that it is important for potential expatriates to be aware of and adhere to?
Kiwis get really sick of Americans with the attitude that the way the US does everything is best. Americans who think, talk and act this way won’t be well received.

Do you ever get homesick?
No

How long do you plan to remain in your host country? 
Indefinitely

Have you purchased a property in your host country or do you rent? 
Yes

What is the cost of housing like in your host country?
Comparable to the US

What is the cost of living like in your host country?
Salaries are lower and gas, electricity, meat, dairy products, vegetables (and books) are much more expensive.

What do you think about the locals?
For the most part, there is a strong working class identity and culture here (in contrast to the US)

What are the three things you like the most about your host country?
The people have a very practical, down to earth attitude towards life.
Free health care
Parliamentary democracy elected by proportional representation (much more democratic)

What are the three things you like the least? 
Indoor temperatures are much colder due to high cost of insulation and energy
high cost of books
white tailed spiders

Do you have any tips for our readers about living in your host country?
People are friendlier and more welcoming of foreigners in rural provincial areas (especially in the North Island) than cities
Check the New Zealand immigration website for occupations in which there are skills deficiencies.
People have to have a job offer to get a work visa.
Tourist visas (with extensions) are for 9 months. Young people can find jobs picking fruit, etc. to get a temporary work visas.
A lot of young people get temporary work visas as WOFERS (working on organic farms).

You can learn more about Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall at www.stuartbramhall.com.

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