(My Mission To Find A Job In NZ & Get A Work Visa)
I’ve always wanted to work with animals. In 2009 I volunteered for a dog/cat shelter on the Ouder Amstel for two months, walking dogs for an hour a week. I really enjoyed it. The shelter: called “Dierentehuis – Amstelveen/Ouder-Amstel “ is located out in the countryside, in the middle of a polder and is a great place to walk dogs. I love the countryside and nature and I also enjoyed the contact with the dogs. Mind you on my first day, there was an incident that I’ll always remember but that’s another story that I’ll tell in another blog.
I’m going to New Zealand to find a job and get a work visa and I thought that I’d try volunteering while I’m looking for work. My friend in Wellington told me about a volunteer organisation called Volunteer Wellington which is an umbrella organisation for a lot of the charities based in the city and they organise volunteers to work for free with some of these charities.
I sent them an email about three months ago to ask them if they needed any volunteers. I specified that I was hoping to volunteer preferably with an organisation where I could have contact with cats and dogs. They sent me forms to fill in for the SPCA(Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in Wellington and I filled it in and sent it back to them. In the meantime I had a look at the SPCA website to see what sort of tasks were involved and whether I’d have the chance to work directly with dogs/cats. It looks very promising but it’s not guaranteed that I’ll get volunteer work with them until I arrive there.
On the form it said that a police check is required of every volunteer, even New Zealand residents. So I went to my local police station to ask them what I needed to get a police check done. They told me that I’d need a “Bewijs van Goed Gedrag” which literally translates as “Certificate of Good Conduct”. I had to go to the Stadsdeel Kantoor (local council office) at the Stopera, on Waterlooplein , Amsterdam to get this form. The personnel at the Stadsdeel Kantoor told me that once I had filled in the form and submitted it, it would take between two to three weeks to process and would cost about 30 euros.
I did ask my contact at Volunteer Wellington if they’d accept the document, when granted, in Dutch. She said “Yes that’s ok, we have a Dutch member of staff here”. Ok great. Three of the four pages of the form needed to be filled in by the organisation to specify the reasons why they needed a police check done for the individual. It was very complicated. I sent the scanned pages of the form to my contact and when she had a look at it, she thought it was a visa form. I explained that it wasn’t a visa form but that the form was asking for information about the reasons why they needed a police check done. I think because it was too complicated they said to forget about it. I was very happy with that as it was going to save me time waiting for the form to be processed and would also save me 30 euros.
I really think I’d love to work with dogs and cats and I hope that I do get the opportunity to have direct contact with them while volunteering in Wellington. It says on their website that some of the tasks involve cleaning out the cages but it also involves working with puppies: getting them used to everyday noise and activities, feeding them, maybe walking small adult dogs, hands-on cleaning, grooming cats, setting out food and toys etc. You have to give a commitment of two to three days a week for the whole time that you say you’ll be there in the city, which is fine by me. I’m looking forward to it and hope that I really enjoy the experience.