The motivations to move abroad are different for everyone but it’s always heart-warming when you hear that love can still be the reason. Asa Duffy from Beyond the Coastlines, is our Expert Expat Spotlight for this month and she did just that. After hearing from a friend living in New Zealand that a flame from the past was living there, this Sweden native began reconnecting and emailing with him. After only one year, Asa moved to New Zealand where they fell in love and now 20 years later, are still together living in New Zealand. Let’s hear more…
What do you enjoy most about being an expat?
Starting a new life in a country that is completely different from my home country of Sweden. It gives me a new perspective on life and the opportunity to explore new land and a new culture.
What’s the best part about living in New Zealand?
The climate! I certainly do not miss the long dark cold winters from back home and have welcomed the change of seasons here in NZ. It’s a beautiful country that cultivates a relaxed attitude of open-mindedness and spontaneity. The people are lovely and I have found it easy to build real relationships and make great friends. I also love that we are so close to Australia and the south pacific as many places there are on my bucket list.
What’s the hardest part about living in NZ?
The distance is the hardest thing about living so far from my home country. I miss being able to see my daughters regularly due to the distance. Thankfully, we have social media and Skype to keep us connected.
What was the biggest culture shock of your new location?
I thought New Zealand was going to embrace the fact that I was from Sweden as I was different and that made me special. This was not the case and I found it very hard to apply for work as many people felt I was lacking “Kiwi” experience. It took me a few years to understand that being from another country isn’t necessarily seen as an advantage.
Would you live abroad again? If so, where?
I would love to live in both Sweden and NZ and would even consider Ireland. For me to adopt a new country it has to be similar to New Zealand so the United Kingdom would work too.
What’s one thing you miss most from your home country?
My family is all I really miss. As for food I miss salt water prawns from the Atlantic sea, chantarelles, and the taste of Swedish tap water. I sometimes miss speaking my own language as living in NZ doesn’t give me many opportunities to speak it. I just worry that by not speaking or writing my native language, I will loose proficiency in it one day.