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Interview with an Austrian Expat in Malaysia

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Name: Prof. Dr. Ille C. Gebeshuber
Home Country: Austria, Europe
Designation/Industry/Company: Aramis Technologies, Malaysia
Marital Status: Married
Other countries you’ve lived in: USA (California)

What brought you to Malaysia?
We (my husband, myself, and our two African Grey parrots) decided to live and work in a completely different environment, and Malaysia is our country of choice because it is so different. It is a tropical country with a booming economy on one side and the oldest rainforests and amazing biodiversity on the other side. I have been living here for six years now.

What do you like and dislike about living here?
As opposed to many other expats, I simply love the traffic in Malaysia. It shows so much about the people. Optimistic, forgiving, always ready for everything, gentle and nice, and on the other hand, if necessary, all is possible and doable. And everything that is not explicitly forbidden is allowed and tolerated. And I love our expeditions to the virgin rainforests. What I dislike is that many larger cities and suburbs are built for cars only, with no sidewalks or bicycle paths.

Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy.
Having nice long late breakfast at one of the many eateries in and around Kuala Lumpur, enjoying a morning watching birds at Fraser Hill, and hunting for iridescent plants in the forest understory of Mount Kinabalu National Park.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region? Why?
My favorite holiday destination is Earth Lodge in Ulu Muda, Kedah. Elephants come and roam the grounds, one can smell tapir and touch tree markings made by Malayan sun bears, explore caves with beautiful stone formations, cross feisty rivers, and enjoy the fauna and flora. AND – we also love George Town, Penang.

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
My most memorable eating experience is connected with durians. I still remember the first time I tried it, oh, that was hard. The smell, so disgusting, and the taste – horrible. But then, I tried it for the second time and the taste was better, but the smell was still ghastly. And then, when I had it for the third time, this fruit completely got me hooked.

What do you miss most about your home country?
I miss waking up on a cold winter morning in a cozy warm home. And the bread. And my friends.

What advice do you have for a newly arrived expat?
Enjoy the diversity of this country. It has so much to offer. Join various societies, some that keep you connected with your origins and some that allow you to make friends with locals who share your interests and hobbies.

How long do you plan to stay in Malaysia? Where would you like to go next, and why?
We have not made definite plans. There are so many exciting places in this world!

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Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why?
For me, at the moment, Malaysia is a great place to work and do business in, because of its diversity and difference to the places I have worked in before – this ensures broad and deep inspiration for the development of synergistic approaches. People here are open to new ideas and ready to give them a go with optimism and courage.

Read This: Expat Interview: Jeff Sjurseth




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