HIS ASIAN JOURNEY
I’ve been in Southeast Asia for nearly 15 years and in Malaysia for almost six. I had an internship in a logistics company in Laos for six months and had a lot of fun discovering Asia. I finished my studies quickly in France, and decided to come back, so booked a one-way trip to Bangkok and found a job in the removal industry.
Then I went to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam for four years, got an offer to come to Malaysia in 2010 and I love it. It’s got all the best parts; different places, food, people and it’s very green.
HELPING EXPATS SETTLE IN
When people arrive here, we take them by the hand and look after their house and get their furniture set up, which makes things easier for them and for their family. You can be settled in one or two months and that’s what we aim to do.
It’s a pleasure I’ve had for 15 years, and it’s become a passion because you have fun meeting new people all the time from ambassadors, directors of companies and teachers to people who work in the United Nation associations. They always have great stories.
PERSONALISING THE SERVICE
When we welcome people to Malaysia, it helps them feel like it’s easier to start out here and if they have any questions, they can just give us a call. We also help people find a house, discover the city, set up their bank account and Internet line, you name it, we do it.
We don’t just unpack the house and set up the TV and say goodbye; we’ll meet these people again in associations, so they become friends for the few years they’re here. I’ve had people that I’ve sent off and brought back to the country, so it’s funny to say ‘welcome back’ to them and see how their kids have grown up.
I miss France because of my old friends, but my parents come to see me and for products, you can find everything you want here. It’s very easy in Malaysia. Go to Bangsar Shopping Centre and they have a fridge of cheese! It’s magic! You can even find liver and make your own foie gras.
When you’ve been living away for a while you learn how to cook what you want. But after 15 years and lots of travelling, I’m used to it. Malaysia is the longest I've lived in one place apart from France. For now, it’s where I’m happy to be. I think it’s the best spot in Asia and it’s good for everything.
ADVICE FOR NEW EXPATS
Try everything. Don’t say no to an invitation, to dinner, to visit; do it. If you’re not sure about anything, ask, but just say yes. There is no reason not to embrace the chance to enjoy the place and the people.
The expat associations are also really good and they organise a ton of events like barbecues, monthly drinks and luncheons – it’s the quickest way to make friends. You can also join charities to help the less fortunate as they have fewer government grants and volunteers.
Never be scared to try street food as it’s good quality stuff and you won’t get sick. It has the best flavour and that’s what you’ll miss when you’re away from here. You can go to the best Malaysian restaurant in your city back home and you’ll never find the same thing. It’s impossible.