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Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 8:43:17 AM
by azlina abdullah
Bermet Abylova, from Kyrgyzstan, first came to Malaysia at the age of eight and has continued to come back ever since.
BERMET Abylova may sometimes be mistaken for a local but the 24-year-old Kyrgyz does not mind this in the least.
The Central Asian native, who has been in Malaysia on and off for the past 10 years, came to Kuala Lumpur at the age of eight when her father was posted as Kyrgyzstan ambassador to Malaysia.
“We stayed here for five years and I attended an international school,” said Bermet, adding that was where she met her best friends.
“After five years, all of us went back to Kyrgyzstan except for my older sister, who stayed back because of work.
“I was pretty upset at having to leave Malaysia as my best friends were here, so I was dreading going back to my country where I would have to start all over again.”
The mass communications graduate recalled that she could not speak any English when she came here.
“I attended Sayfol International School where the medium of instruction was English. In my country, I attended a Russian school and I could only converse in Russian and Kyrgyz,” she said.
To catch up, she took extra English lessons.
She believes that coming here at such a young age helped her learn and adapt faster.
Bermet completed her schooling in her home country and continued her studies in Sunway University before heading to the United States for two years.
“After graduating from the US, I returned to Malaysia to start looking for a job. Every time I left Malaysia, I ended up coming back here! Personally, I love Malaysia. It has become like a second home to me,” she said.
“My sister is married to a Malaysian, so now I have family here, too.”
Though not completely fluent, Bermet can order food in Bahasa Malaysia.
Some of her favourite local delights include nasi lemak and teh tarik.
“The first time I tried durian, I could not stomach it! It’s funny that both my parents like durian,” she said.
She recently gave it another try and was surprised to find that she likes it now.
Having lived in Malaysia for 10 years, Bermet finds the locals warm and friendly in comparison with her homeland, where people can be “quite hot tempered”.
Her first two jobs in Malaysia was in public relations and advertising firms.
She is currently in business development.
“It has been a total switch of industry for me, going from PR and advertising to business development in the medical field,” said Bermet.
“It has challenged me and I have learned a lot of new things and gained additional experience.”
She is now ready for a change.
“I have been working here for three years and I am planning to move to another country sometime next year to experience something new.
“I am sure I will return to Malaysia after that. I always have!”
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Lifestyle, Community, Central Region, Expat@Home, Bermet Abylova
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