18 November 2016

Monica Tindall - Expat in Malaysia

Monica Tindall - Expat in Malaysia

We’ve had the chance to talk to Monica Tindall, an Australian expat who has moved to Malaysia with her husband. Mrs. Tindall who has been living there for 13 years, now works as an editor and educator.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Australia.


Q: What made you move out of Australia?

A: Desire to travel the world.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Malaysia. It’s where both my husband and I found jobs together.


Q: How long have you been living in Malaysia?

A: 13 years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: My husband. Yes, he has adjusted.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: With Internet and opportunities to connect easily, I don’t miss home so much. Home is only an 8-hour direct flight away so I visit a couple of times a year.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: It’s exciting to learn about different ways of viewing the world. I love that the cultural community in Malaysia is diverse.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Malaysia? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: Work was our initial way of connecting with people. Gradually, though, as we explored our interests outside of work, we also made friendships with other expats and locals.


Q: How does the cost of living in Malaysia compare to your home?

A: The cost of living, in general, is much more affordable in Malaysia than Australia.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: A third wave style espresso-based drink is around RM10 in most cafes.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: If you’re willing to eat street food, two people could eat for less than RM50.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: This can go to any extreme depending on whether or not you include beverages - anywhere from RM200 and upwards.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine?

A: Alcohol is generally expensive. A low-quality bottle of wine in the supermarket starts from about RM40 and the same bottle in a restaurant might cost RM90 and above.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Malaysia?

A: Allow lots of time and check first what you need to bring before making the time to visit.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: When we first arrived our employers took care of everything so we didn’t have to deal with any of the paperwork other than providing the requested documents.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Malaysia is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Our health insurance covers private clinics and there are a number of excellent health facilities around the city.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Australia or Malaysia? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Our employer provides international health insurance that covers us while at home and also overseas.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Malaysia? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: We moved from Venezuela to Malaysia. The experience on the Venezuelan side was not the most positive. We were however well taken care of on arrival to Malaysia and items that were broken in the shipping due to poor packing were replaced.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Accepting differing views on human rights and beliefs about equality and not feeling able to speak openly about these differences.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Malaysia?

A: Malaysia is a wonderful country in which and from which to travel in the region. Travel opportunities are both extensive and affordable. There’s a wealth of delicious food to try from all parts of the world.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Travel, travel, travel!


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Possibly.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Be open-minded. Go with the flow. Choose to notice the positive.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Malaysia?

A: Theyumlist.net has daily updates about delicious places to eat, stay and spa in Malaysia and the region. The Yum List Instagram account rocks too!