The difference between America and New Zealand: O.E.


In New Zealand the term “O.E.” stands for “Overseas Experience.” After high school (which Kiwis also call “college” unlike in America where “college” is synonymous with “university”) it’s common for graduates to take 3months to 2 years to backpack around the world or get a work visa to a different country and experience life overseas before returning home to finish university or begin their career.

What Kiwi's imagine when they hear the term "O.E."

In America the term” O.E” stands for “Old English,” a 40 ounce (they don’t even have 40 ounce bottles of booze in New Zealand)  bottle of bottom shelf malt liquor popular with gangstas and university students.

I will link this photo to the original source if anyone can find it.

What Americans imagine when they hear the term "O.E."

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4 Responses

  1. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a few months now. We are planning to move from California to NZ soon, just need to finalize a few legal things here before hopping over there. I wanted to ask you both about the general work-life balance there in relation to life here in the USA. Thanks in advance for any input you have.

    • We’re always happy to answer questions. If you could elaborate on your question we could give you a better answer.

  2. No problem.

    I was reading an article which talked about 10 countries with the best work-life balance using three indicators:

    (1) the amount of time spent on personal activities;
    (2) the employment rate of women with children between 6 and 14 years of age; and
    (3) the number of employees working over 50 hours a week.

    The article talked about Belgium having the most personal time in a day, with an average of 16.61 hours a day. The Netherlands and Sweden tied for the least-overworked population, with only 0.01 percent of their respective populations regularly working over 50 hours a week.

    I didn’t see New Zealand on that top 10 list, so it inspired me to write to you. What I wanted to learn from your perspective was, do you see a lot of generally overworked folks? Do people generally have free time to themselves? [It’s funny that I am visualizing a busy downtown New Yorker in a suit right next to someone in Hawaii who goes surfing during his lunch break]

    I expect we’ll be moving to one of the bigger metropolitan cities as we work in corporate settings now and my wife’s career falls in line with one of those positions in high demand.

    I hope this provides you with better background information…

    Thanks!

  3. Here’s a quick introduction to business in NZ: https://brokenluggage.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/doing-business-in-new-zealand/

    Due to the high cost of living, people generally work full 40 hour weeks. I worked over 40 hours a week at my last job. Here’s a blog I (Travis) wrote about my experience there: http://wisesloth.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/the-letter-ill-never-send-to-my-ceo/. Ironically, that was exactly the situation I was looking to get away from when I moved to NZ. But that wasn’t a professional job. The executive members of that company took 2 hour lunches and got ridiculous bonuses.

    As a general rule you’ll enjoy a more laid back atmosphere at work here than in America even though you’ll still be working 40 hours per week.

    One of the great things about working in NZ is that taking long vacations isn’t a big deal. Everyone gets a few weeks paid vacation every year, but if you want to take off (unpaid) for say 3 months to just travel, your job will almost certainly accommodate you. Kiwis think it’s crazy that Americans can get fired for taking more time off than is alloted in their official holiday pay.

    I hope that helps. I’ll elaborate more if there are specifics you’re looking for that I didn’t cover. Again we’re happy to answer all the questions you have. That’s why we made this site. And answering your questions will save me the hassle of trying to guess what our readers want us to write about.

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