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Cassie is a long time expat, who gives a rundown on what life is like as an expat in Kuala Lumpur.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born & bred in Melbourne, Australia & will always be a Melbourne girl at heart. I love going places & doing things I’ve never seen or done before; though I happily return to Melbourne to spend time with family & to our house on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia for beach therapy. Giving back to the community I live in is very important to me. I’ve met some wonderful, inspiring people through volunteering; some of them have become close friends. Of course, I wouldn’t be where I am without my hard-working, congenial husband, who makes me laugh every day.
Where do you live now and how long have you been there?
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 11 years.
What do you love about where you live now?
My friends; it’s easy to access other parts of Asia; the cost of living is cheap; once you get used to ‘the way things are’, it’s easy to live here; even though KL is a big city, you still feel like you’re living somewhere different.
What brought you to this location?
My husband’s work & the cost of living.
How it all began:
Where was your first assignment, how long were you there?
Busan, South Korea for 12 months
What was your reason for moving abroad in the first place?
My husband was offered to project manage a construction job. Thinking it was a great opportunity for an adventure, we said, “Why not”? We were only meant to be away for six months; that was nearly 20 years ago!
Did you travel alone, with kids or with a partner? How would you describe your first experience?
It was just my husband & I. My youngest step-daughter had finished school, so we didn’t have the worry of children settling into new schools & finding new friends. Living in Busan was a bit surreal. We were the only expats within cooee & lived in a very local area. It was a bit like being a celebrity at first; with everyone wanting to talk to you & have their photo taken with you. We were very fortunate that the Koreans my husband worked with embraced us as part of their family & made sure we were well looked after. It put me way out of my comfort zone but was wonderful. It made a great impression.
The expat adventure:
Where have you lived so far?
Busan, South Korea – 12 months
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 3 years
Singapore – 4 years
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 11 years
If you could sum up your expat life in 3 words, what would it be?
Challenging; Educational; Transformative
How would you define your experience as an expat?
It’s helped me see the world through ‘new’ eyes.
How has being an expat changed you?
My world has opened up! I’m not nearly as shy as I used to be. I’ve met people, gone places & done things that never would have happened if I’d stayed in Australia & only travelled as a tourist. Sadly, my heart has hardened a bit, having been broken several times – You form attachments and you move on or other people move on… I’ve also become more reflective on what it means to be Australian & Australia’s place in the world.