Back to Europe 

About 6 months ago I arrived in New Zealand. Looking forward to a new experience, leaving my comfort zone. 

In about 2 weeks I’ll go back. Not back to my comfort zone, not exactly back to where I came from. It will be a new challenge, a new life again. And it will – unfortunately – not be the place I was looking for, actually. 

However, it will be a place where people are open to new ideas, able to discuss things in an adult way, and willing to change the things that are not right. I had to be in New Zealand to understand. I had to experience this ignorant arrogance of “We live in the best country of the world” – being 25 years behind. It’s ok. It’s ok for you, it’s ok for me. But I don’t want to live in the best country of the world, where you have to wait months to get an appointment with the specialist after your GP is more or less sure you’ve got cancer. I don’t want to live in a country where protectionism avoids competition to a degree where consumers only have the choice to buy overpriced crap or nothing at all. I don’t want to live in a country where a yelling minority calls the majority racist, only to justify “social welfare” that enables them to smoke not only cigarettes without ever working for (well, it’s a bit of work to get the bureaucracy done). And political correctness strongly prohibits to discuss about. I don’t want to live in a country that calls itself first world but provides housing conditions which are so poor that thousands of people get sick, some even die, and nobody even questions it. 

No, I don’t want to go deeper into this. I’m happy to leave the best country of the world. I’m happy to start a new life again. In the old world. With new insights. Thank you, New Zealand, thank you so much for showing me how good life can be – in Europe. 

The only thing I am really sorry about is that I had to learn that there is no chance for me to “try” Australia. German doctors are not welcome… AON with 2 toddlers is not an option… 

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6 thoughts on “Back to Europe 

  1. The door is not closed for IMGs, sure, this is just my own decision as VOC3 reg is a long way to go and just too hard with two little kids for me at the moment. I don’t blame anybody for that, it was my own fault not to go that way earlier in life…
    Every physician should get some professional experience abroad, that’s one of the lessons I’ve learned now. Therefore all those institutions like RACGP etc. worldwide should work on possibilities to make this easier, I’m sure everybody would benefit, incl. patients.

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  2. Unfortunately you might be wrong on that – there is an oversupply of locally trained graduates and the decision makers have openly declared that they were not letting any more IMGs in

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  3. Andreas, if you would like to come to Australia, the door would be open for you at my practice, and I am sure we could work out your immigration and Medicare provider number – somehow, eventually, at high costs, both financially and emotionally …because Australia’s bureaucracy is nothing short of obscene.

    However, even if you made it here, your NZ experience would be just repeated in many ways. Don’t get me wrong – Australia has many good or even excellent points, else I wouldn’t be here any more. But it is certainly not “a place where people are open to new ideas, able to discuss things in an adult way, and willing to change the things that are not right.”, at least not in general. After 17 years in Australia I have learned that much.

    We considered going back to Europe many times. We miss culture. We miss mature discussion of things that are wrong, and creativity to right those things. We miss a semblance of consumer rights and a guarantee of unalienable human rights.

    But then I think about the working situation of doctors in Germany, and all of a sudden Australia appears to be golden and immaculate again. I think of the wasteful health system in Germany, yielding poor outcome at a very high price. I think of the moral destroying capitation system (which our clueless politicians in Australia are now trying to force upon us too it seems). I think of people running desperately and at high cost to ten different specialists and often suffering countless needless tests and procedures in the process – for an ailment that would not require any of them, but they never will know because there is no GP coordinating their care.

    No system is without faults. After living and working in so many different countries on 4 continents I have come to understand that the ideal place does not exist. In balance, Australia remains the better place for me and my family, at least while I continue working as a doctor (and as long as current politics won’t have their way with destroying our still excellent health system). But I keep thinking about how you so nicely summed up its weakest point that one day might be its downfall – namely not being “a place where people are open to new ideas, able to discuss things in an adult way, and willing to change the things that are not right.”

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  4. PS: Why would AON not be an option with two toddlers? We came to an AON with 4 children, at the time aged 1, 5, 7, and 10. After 17 years, we are still living in an AON – voluntarily for the past 7 years because we found our home here.

    The children always went through local public schools, including the “smallest High School” in all of NSW. One is just graduating with honors in medicine, another one is still studying medicine, one is studying maths and chemistry majors (after bailing out of nuclear medicine) while thinking what he really wants to do, and our youngest is just doing her HSC (Abitur equivalent) and will probably be able to go straight into medicine as she wishes. AON is not bad for children – it gives them perspective. Would not have wanted my kids to grow up in a city.

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    1. Thank you for giving us this positive picture. This is the wonderful picture of Australia I had before. Recruitment agencies recommended to get the FRNZCGP as the process in NZ was much more straightforward than the process in Oz, and come to Oz then…

      I still see the advantages of a primary care system (compared to the German system), and I am not going back to be a GP in Germany. I’ll do a training in geriatrics now, and who knows, maybe we’ll have the energy to try something new after that again…

      Thank you again for sharing your experience!

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