#498 The Big OE
Mark talks about Kiwis who travel overseas.
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Todd: So Mark, when I was in London I saw so many people from New Zealand and actually everywhere in the world I meet so many people from New Zealand, but you have such a small population. Is anybody still in New Zealand?

Mark: Yeah, I think the Kiwis and Australians that you see in London and in other parts of England and Europe, many of them are young Kiwis doing what we call ‘the big OE’.

Todd: The big OE? What’s that?

Mark: ‘The big overseas experience’ or ‘the big overseas excursion’. So, a lot of people, when they finish school or finish university they take a year off and because New Zealand is located a long way from anywhere, instead of taking a trip from one country to another for a week, like many Europeans do, when young New Zealanders travel they tend to go backpacking a lot, get a part time job working in a pub or a restaurant in London to make more money and then they will travel for 3 or 4 months through Europe. They may go back to England and work a bit more and then see a few more countries, and then maybe after a year or so they’ll start heading back towards home. That’s ‘the big OE’.

Todd: So did you do ‘the big OE’?

Mark: Sort of, yeah. After I’d finished work at…after I’d finished university I worked for a few months and yes, I did go to England. I’d applied for a job and then hadn’t heard back so I started my OE and I did it for a few months and then I actually found out I’d got a job, so I cut the OE short to join the working world.

Todd: Ok, what countries besides London are popular for Kiwis to go and visit?

Mark: Um, now…

Todd: Or what cities or places?

Mark: Now I think they’re getting more adventurous. Before it used to be very euro-centric, but now a lot more people are going through Asia and going to more exotic locations: maybe South America, some people travel to Africa. The old ties to England are still there; I think that’s still the first location for many people: save a bit of money and then see the rest of the world.

© Todd Beuckens