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Interview with Ed Gillian – a Pakistani expat living in Brisbane, Australia

Updated 18 Feb 2014

Ed, originally from Pakistan, moved to Brisbane in 2002 to start work as a doctor. He instantly felt at home in the city and made friends in Brisbane with no problem. Despite the fact that he says the cost of living in Australia is high, he enjoys all the opportunities the country has to offer. 

Read more about Melbourne in the Expat Arrivals Brisbane City Guide or browse more expat experiences in Australia.

About you

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I am originally from Pakistan.

Q: Where are you living now?
A:  Brisbane, Australia.

Q: When did you move here?
A:  We moved her in 2002, so have been here quite a while now.

Q: Did you move here alone or with a spouse/family?
A:  I moved here by myself.

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: I moved here to work as a doctor.

Living in Brisbane

Q: What do you enjoy most about Brisbane? How would you rate the quality of life compared to your home country?
A:  Unlike Sydney, Brisbane is very well spaced and has a lot more natural vegetation, which is a plus point for me. It is certainly far better than the quality of life in Pakistan.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A:  The only negative I can think of, off the top of my head is it's quite expensive here...

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life in Australia? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: Nope I didn’t experience any form of culture shock and I've been happy since the first day I moved here.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A:  Everything in Australia is expensive, housing, food, petrol. Everything.

Q: How would you rate the public transport in Brisbane? What are the different options in the city? Do you need to own a car?
A: The public transport in Brisbane is excellent. You can use bus, ferry, train or taxi. You only need to own a car if you live far from the city.

 Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Brisbane? Have you had any particularly good/bad experiences with regards to doctors and hospitals? Are there any hospitals you would recommend?
A: The healthcare is excellent. All of the hospitals have been great in my experience. If I had to choose one though, I'd say Prince Alexander.

Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in your host city or country? Are there any areas expats should avoid?
A: Never experienced any real threat just for being an expat. I think if expats are sensible and carry out some generally safety precautions they shouldn’t have any problems.

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Brisbane? What different options are available for expats?
A:  The housing is very comfortable and affordable. Overall 8/10.

Q: Any areas/suburbs of Brisbane would you recommend for expats to live in?
A:  I live in Highgate Hill and love it. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Meeting people and making friends in Brisbane

Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there any obvious discrimination against particular religions or women etc.?
A: The locals are very tolerant of newcomers and I don't even feel like a foreigner here. I have been made to feel very welcome

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends? How did you go about meeting new people in Brisbane?
A: Yes it was very easy to meet people and make friends in Brisbane. I met most of my friends at work.

Q: Have you made friends with locals or do you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends in? Any social/expat groups you can recommend?
A: I mix with both locals as well as expats in Brisbane. I met most of my friends through work so I didn’t join any groups as such.  

About working in Brisbane

Q: Did you have a problem getting a visa or work permit for Australia? Did you tackle the visa process yourself or did you enlist the services of an immigration consultant?
A: I enlisted the help of a migration agent, and it cost me around AUD 6000. Getting the visa was fairly simple, but it took 6 months.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Brisbane? Do you have any tips for expats looking to find a job in the city? Which resources did you find most useful?
A: Jobs are plentiful here, my number one tip is to apply everywhere. It's a numbers game – the more applications one makes the more likely they are to stumble across the perfect job in Brisbane.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home? Do you have any tips for expats doing business in Brisbane?
A: The working environment here is very laid back compared to Pakistan. It's also much safer.

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals in Brisbane?
A: Yes, just take things one step at a time. Sometimes settling in can take longer than expected. So be patient at first. Pretty soon you will start to like it here.

– Interviewed February 2014

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