RSM South Africa

Secondment in New Zealand

Beautiful, strange, amazing, tough and awesome are few of the many words that spring to mind when reflecting back on my secondment experience to New Zealand.

11 March 2017 at 17:30pm takes me back to the moment where it all started. I was filled with mixed emotions. Excitement for the opportunity of visiting a new country and emotional as I was leaving behind my family and newly wedded wife. Luckily for me, my twin brother was also afforded the secondment opportunity. The start of the journey was shaky with the flight experiencing high levels of turbulence on the long trip there.

After the very long flight, we were welcomed in Auckland, New Zealand by two wonderful people who took great care of us during our time there.  As soon as we reached our apartments, we slept for a couple of hours and went for a walk to get something to eat. Nandos was the only halaal place we knew about at that time.

After a few days of only eating Nandos, we needed a change and decided it was time to learn how to make some food. Well, all I can say is that we experienced what it was like cleaning burnt pots, eating burnt meat and tasting raw patties and eggs.

Travelling to places around Auckland was pretty easy. The trains and busses are quite reliable, and Uber is also very common on that side of the world. The shopping was decent and there is a range of restaurants available for your selection wherever you go. Auckland is also a very diverse place with people from all around the world living there, many of them being South Africans.

The first day at work was the usual training on ethics and independence, dress codes and training on schools as well as getting to meet our new work colleagues. Thereafter it was work, work, work. They call it the school period at RSM New Zealand, where all schools in New Zealand have to submit their audited financial statements by 31 May 2017. Some of the requirements in the school financial statements needed some getting used to and there was very limited time to get used to these requirements. The entire office works on weekends during the school period to get these done and our work colleagues always tried their best to assist where they could.

Weekends in which we did not work were all about touring. New Zealand must be one of the greenest countries in the world and to make things even more beautiful is that wherever you go, you see the beautiful ocean. There are small islands all around New Zealand that offer some amazing views and tranquil walks along the beach. There are activities galore, such as canoeing, skiing, fishing and so on in almost every place. Weekends also meant time to do washing and, since this was the first time I was doing my own washing, I was amped. On my first attempt I took all our clothes down to the washing room area and as I was putting my clothes in what I thought was the washing machine, a lady looked at me and said, “That’s the dryer”! She then directed me to the correct machine.

New Zealand is definitely a country everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. My New Zealand experience has left me with valuable lessons and amazing memories that I will cherish forever.

Azhar Jhetam

Supervisor: Trust department, Johannesburg

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