Lydia Ding Li
Favourite things to do in Auckland:
Going to the beach, shopping, movies, drinks, karaoke, weekend brunch, festivals, BBQ's at home with beers, snacks and lots of friends!
Why did you come to NZ?
I first came to New Zealand in 2005 after graduating in China with a Bachelor of Arts in English. I wanted to improve my spoken English, and possibly have a life style I wanted here. This meant, for me, a westernised life style, living with different cultures and having “mental” freedom, ie to be a free spirit.
How did you settle in?
Firstly, I adopted an English first name, “Lydia”, which I think made it easier for Kiwis to relate to me. Then I decided to rent (in New Zealand it’s called “flatting”) with a native English speaker. It helped me a lot to have someone to correct my spoken English and teach me Kiwi idioms. I also made an effort to meet locals and make friends. I’d recommend to anyone coming here - find hobbies and interests where you can meet New Zealanders.
How did you find a job?
Today I work in a large shipping company where I use my English language on a daily basis with customers. But the job market was difficult at first. I didn’t have any local work experience, which employers here really prefer. I got help with my Curriculum Vitae from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce who run a migrant employment programme. They got me an interview with a logistics company. I got the job! This gave me local Kiwi work experience.
English skill is highly important for getting the first job as we need to pass the interview first! Even if we are lucky enough to have passed interview it’s still very important if we want a promotion later on. New Zealand is an English speaking country, so we need English to communicate well with colleagues, managers and customers.
I found it tough here in the beginning. I felt like I’d cut off my past. But now I’m settled. I’m a New Zealand citizen, I own a property in Auckland, and I live with my Kiwi partner. I find New Zealand offers me the freedom to be myself.