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The Big OE is a rite of passage for many young New Zealanders. Restless Kiwis, anxious for adventure, venture out to explore the world. To New Zealanders, the term OE almost needs no explanation; it’s an extended overseas experience, often self-funded by working at the destination. It can last a year or two, or sometimes even longer, but eventually most Kiwis return home, filled with lifelong memories of faraway lands and intrepid adventures.
Our colonial ties and generations of tradition means London beckons as a popular OE destination. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world, chock full of culture, history and opportunity, not to mention fellow Kiwis! It’s also a great base for weekend trips around Europe.
While a big part of an OE is the adventure of the unknown, a little bit of planning before you leave can make the transition a lot easier and allow you to get down to the business of work and play a lot quicker. 1st Contact is a company that specialises in setting people up in the UK and can be an invaluable resource when planning and starting your overseas experience. This includes advice in applying for visas and assistance navigating the tricky UK bank account set-up process. If you’re a first-time solo traveller, you’ll find tips, such as time of year to travel and packing, invaluable. Accommodation referrals and job search assistance are other services offered by 1st Contact.
> Packing tips you need to know
Remember to check your passport expiry dates before you leave, and while you’ll need some accommodation booked until you find something more permanent, it pays not to book anything before your visa is approved. Visas can take months to process, so make sure you apply early!
Upon arrival, it pays not to spend too much money on tourist activities until you start earning pounds. On that note, it is a good idea to book your initial tour/s and a few sightseeing options while you’re still working in New Zealand. Having a few activities booked and paid for, makes budgeting easier as the money you take with you, is just for living expenses. A Hop On Hop Off tour is a great way to get orientated in a new city.
If you really can’t wait to get stuck into mainland Europe, you should book a Contiki or Top Deck tour before you leave. These are so much fun and you’ll be travelling with other like-minded travellers out to see and experience the world. Get started with a quick tour around London or Paris or get a decent sampling with a 17 day Top Deck Euro Club tour, including Florence, Amsterdam and Venice. Not in a hurry to start work? The Contiki European Panorama will put off the job hunt for another 28 days, visiting 12 countries and giving a widescreen view of Western Europe.
> More about Contiki
The best advice for an OE? Just do it! Start planning and take the plunge. It’s a life changing experience you’ll treasure forever.
> Check out these European OE deals!
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