Dr Esther O'Sullivan: "It’s been a real rejuvenating change moving here, and a fantastic adventure so far.”


Article by Julia Strelou08 Sep 2021
Doctor in Rotorua

It was a cold and dark winters evening when Dr Esther O’Sullivan decided she was tired of the short days and long winters in Ireland, and she needed a new lifestyle.

Now, she has a new life in Rotorua; the geothermal and adventure capital of New Zealand.

This is her story.

Early Life:

Esther O'Sullivan is from the West of Ireland, loving science at school she decided that medicine was her calling. “I have enjoyed working as a doctor. I did most of my training in Ireland” O’Sullivan explained.

Looking back she remembers the job of a junior doctor was not always easy

“We used to do long shifts on call as junior doctors – a whole weekend sometimes, and often about 33 hours. I remember struggling to stay awake at the end of these.”

Coming to New Zealand to work as a doctor:

O’Sullivan had never been to New Zealand before, but something about the country with its towering mountains and lush hiking trails appealed to her. “I’ve always liked traveling, and in particular to places with beautiful landscapes and opportunities to explore on foot – hiking or running. So New Zealand seemed an obvious choice when I decided to relocate.”

Looking online at New Zealand, O’Sullivan was drawn to the diverse natural landscapes; untamed forests and misty fiords, golden beaches, and waters of turquoise.

“I decided to take action and look for a job here one cold and dark winters evening – when I was tired of the short days and long winters at home.”

When she registered her interest with Medrecruit she was put in touch with Jess Pearson, a Medrecruit Solution Specialist who specialises in working with international doctors and made the move from the UK herself many years ago.

“She was immediately very helpful – she set up a phone call to get an idea of what I was looking for and made the process very straightforward.”

From this point onwards, Jess guided her through the rest of the process.

“There was a lot of paperwork but Jess helped make it as streamlined as possible, with regard to what the hospital required, the medical council in New Zealand, and also pointing me toward assistance with my visa application.”

Packing everything up her house and deciding on what to ship to New Zealand wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be, “it was really refreshing to declutter.”

Although saying goodbye to her friends and family was tough, a brand new job and lifestyle awaited her in Rotorua.

“On arriving in Rotorua it took a while to settle in, and I found it lonely at first, but as it’s a small town, and the hospital is also quite small it wasn’t long before I’d met a lot of people and settled in. I had accommodation provided for a month and everyone was very welcoming. Jess and others at Medrecruit continued to provide support right to the end of the process of moving.”

A new life in Rotorua, New Zealand

“All the upheaval and initial stress have definitely been worth it – life here is great, there is a fantastic trail running and loads of events to take part in – this is a great way to see some of this beautiful country. I’ve already explored quite a bit and done some tramps on a few of the great walks.”

Rotorua is a small and close-knit community, but its stunning geothermal landscapes, and beautiful forests make it a popular tourist attraction and holiday destination for New Zealanders.

“My favourite thing to do on days off in Rotorua is to go to the forest for a run – it’s so peaceful there.”

Rotorua is famous for its thermal hot pools, which people have been coming to bathe in since the mid-19th-century. The geothermally heated water is said to have healing properties and be able to cure ailments such as arthritis and rheumatism.

“The hot pools are also a good option, very relaxing, especially on a cool evening.”

The Bay of Plenty region also holds many of New Zealand’s other wonders including Mount Maunganui, The Coromandel, and even Hobbiton.

“The Bay of Plenty is a lovely area, with diverse landscape and lots of hiking trails. It’s also easy to explore further afield from here – the airport in Rotorua is very handy for this. Also, there are ski fields less than 2 hours away.”

Since moving to New Zealand Esther has left the long dark winters of Ireland behind and spends most of her free time enjoying the outdoors.

“My favourite thing about living in New Zealand is the appreciation people have for getting out in nature, and making the most of what’s right on our doorstep. It’s been a real rejuvenating change moving here, and a fantastic adventure so far.”

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Julia Strelou
Article by Julia StrelouMedrecruit Editor
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