Expat Stories – Behnam Zare Garizi
February 2020   EXPAT STORIES

Expat Stories – Behnam Zare Garizi

Behnam Zare Garizi is a Customer Service Supervisor at Cigna. Behnam is originally from Iran but now lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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This is his expat story.

Tell us about your expat move.

I’m originally from Iran and I now live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’ve been working at Cigna since July 2015.

Before I joined Cigna I was already in Malaysia. I had a couple of years’ experience working in hotels and restaurants over here, in the Sheraton and the Ritz Carlton. I started as a Customer Service Representative and was promoted in 2017 to a team senior. In May 2019, I was promoted again to Customer Service Supervisor.

What have been some of your highlights of your time in Malaysia?

There’s been a lot of changes for me during my time here. When I moved here, I didn’t really speak English. Now I speak 4 languages, English, French, Farsi and Malay. I learned French through an educational reimbursement program by Cigna.

In the beginning, I worked very hard to improve my English and took up some extra courses. I did my diploma in Industrial Training here in Malaysia.  I’ve gotten to travel a lot with my job ever since I was promoted to a supervisor role. I got to visit with some of our clients, both here in Malaysia and also elsewhere. There are really some beautiful countries in Asia.

Is there anything you miss about Iran?

I haven’t had a chance to visit Iran much to be honest. It has been a long time since I’ve been back home, probably been 11 or 12 years. I would love to visit home one day.

I miss my family of course as I have a lot of relatives living back in Iran. I’ve got a sister living here in Malaysia so that helps.

For those who are considering an expat move, what sort of advice would you give?

For internationals, I would say there is a lot of opportunities working here in Malaysia. You can go in a lot of different areas work-wise. Malaysia has a good system for medical and health insurance and there are also very good services provided.

There are a lot of expats living here. I know many of them come here and end up staying permanently. As an expat myself, it’s really great to be able to mix in with so many different cultures.

How much do you enjoy your role at Cigna?

I enjoy challenges and it has certainly been one working at Cigna. I came from a background of working in the hotel industry and that was quite an experience to switch to working in health insurance. An office environment is also a very different experience to working in a hotel but I really enjoy it.

I enjoy the flexibility that comes with my job. I can work from home if I need to and that is quite helpful. I also enjoy working with clients, working with my fellow team members and things like that. It is a great opportunity being here at Cigna and I really enjoy the work that I do.

Finally, how would you describe your expat journey in 10 words or less?

A diverse experience where the journey never seems to end.

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