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Interview with Marvin - A Scottish expat in Melbourne

Updated 30 Oct 2018

Marvin Coleman is a Scottish expat living in Melbourne with his wife, Robin, and their two sons. Together, Marvin and Robin run a mortgage brokering business, Mortgage Choice, which specialises in helping expats to secure mortgages and buy Australian property. Follow him on Twitter, @marvin_coleman.

Australia%20Marvin%20Coleman.pngAbout Marvin

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Scotland

Q: When did you move to Melbourne?
A:  September 2005

Q: Did you move alone or with a spouse/family?
A: With my wife and sons.

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: My wife is from Melbourne. We wanted to see if the lifestyle suited our family better than London while she was on maternity leave, so could easily return if it didn’t work out.

Living in Melbourne

Q: What do you enjoy most about Melbourne? How would you rate the quality of life compared to London?
A: There’s a good reason why Melbourne is regularly voted in the Top 3 Most Liveable Cities. It offers a wonderful lifestyle and plenty of work opportunities.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: I miss seeing my mates, but they’ve moved out of London anyway. We keep in touch with WhatsApp and Skype, so that’s been great. The only downside is it takes a lot of flying to get back to Europe or the UK.

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: People struggle with my Scottish accent, so I’ve had to slow down my speech. I remember being surprised by what’s on the radio and TV.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to the UK? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: Housing is more affordable here, though Melbourne and particularly Sydney are still pricey. Eating out can be more expensive. The labour rate here is also quite high.

Q: How would you rate the public transport? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?
A: Public transport networks are constantly improving, but there is limited infrastructure compared to the likes of London. Like most Melbourne locals, we use our car a lot.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Melbourne? 
A: Healthcare is excellent.

Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in your host city or country? Are there any areas expats should avoid?
A: Melbourne is a very safe city.

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Melbourne? What different options are available for expats?
A: Great options, both for singles and families. Lots of inner city apartments, which I’d jump at if I were single or had no kids.

Meeting people and making friends

Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there any obvious discrimination against particular religions or women etc.?
A: It’s a country of immigrants – everyone’s from somewhere else. There are plenty of opportunities, you’ve just got to make the effort.

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?
A:  Get stuck in –  there are amazing opportunities in Australia, it’s what you make of it!

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