Monday, 2 July 2007

What is an OE?

In just over four weeks, we are finally going on our OE. First we fly to Vietnam, and then all sorts of other places in three different continents until settling in either Galway in Ireland or London in Ye Olde England, depending on how we feel at the time. It's all pretty much sorted - the passports have the requisite stamps, and our arms have had the necessary and necessarily painful shots. I am also in the process of trying to mentally prepare Max for a long holiday with Grandma Raema and Grandad Ray.

On the weekend, though, we started one of the worst parts of moving overseas. And no, I'm not talking about the part where you get nostalgicand eat so many Minties you get a headache, go crazy with the kumara chips, and frantically try to learn the words of the haka. On Saturday, we started packing. Shudder. It is no coincidence that 'packing' rhymes with 'what sucks to do when I'd rather be slacking'. One entire floor of our house is so covered in a pile so large soon we will need crampons to navigate it.
This packing business got me thinking about the idea of an OE. Like, what is an OE? Do you have to go to Europe? Is there a minimum time you have to be away from NZ for it to count? I have lived in Italy for one year, and worked in the USA for three months. Do they count? I feel like they don't, but can't articulate why.
Since joining the professional workforce I have met loads of people who have never lived overseas, but have done extensive travelling through some very challenging and diverse parts of the world. Why do many people consider that less of an OE than someone who goes to England and never strays from North America and Western Europe, thus never experiencing the palava of trying to get a tourist visa for a third-world country? I am very curious what you think.


Elizabeth said...

Yay leaving soon! :-)

I've never heard of the you-have-to-go-to-a-third-world-country-in-order-for-it-to-be-a-proper-OE thing before...where'd you get that from? However, I would say that going to London, living & hanging out with just Kiwis and working at the Walkabout isn't really getting the most out of yr Overseas Experience. And there are a surprisingly large number of people who do that.

But hey, I can't talk - came all this way only to move in with a guy who grew up in the Auckland suburb just over from mine :-)

Really looking forward to seeing you guys. I will keep my eyes glued to the blog for the latest news.

NB: The Walkabout is an Australasian pub chain in the UK, lots like the Outback actually, shudder.

The_doctor said...

Well keep me informed as I need to sort out holidays and the like. I don't really feel I am having an overseas experience yet. I am more in the you have to go to a third world country before it is a real OE camp. I feel it is about putting yourself out of your comfort zone and the elitist in me thinks that living in London with a bunch of Kiwis watching Rugby at the Walkabout does not quite fit that bill.