Interview with Dr Suzanne - an expat life coach in Edinburgh


Suzanne Doyle-Morris holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has extensive experience of women in male dominated fields coupled with life coaching experiences and insightful interviews with senior women in a range of organisations. Dr. Doyle-Morris runs Beyond the Boys’ Club Boot Camp, a fast-track career development programme for high potential professional females and is the author of Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male Dominated Field

For more information about the United Kingdom read the Expat Arrivals country guide or read more about expat experiences in the United Kingdom.
 

About you


Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Born in Alice Springs, Australia, raised in Washington DC, worked primarily in Europe. 

Q: Where are you living now?
A:  St. Andrew’s, Scotland

Q: How long you have you lived here?
A:  13 years in total. Just 3 weeks in Scotland– happily living in Cambridge, England for 12 years during and after completing my PhD at the University of Cambridge. If you had told my 22 year self as I boarded the plane, that I would still be living in the UK 13 years later, I would have laughed in your face.   

Q: Did you move with a spouse/ children?
A:  I originally came on my own at 22 to work on the holidaymaker’s visa and have a “backpackers’ experience” for a year or two. But as many best-laid plans go, I also met my British husband during that time in my first job in London. Our most recent move to Scotland was based on a great job he got with the St Andrew’s University and since I can work almost anywhere and travel a great deal – I had no daily commute to contend with, and so it was an easy decision.

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A:  I help companies develop their high potential women leaders – I speak to large audiences, work one to one with high-achieving women and published my book, “Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male Dominated Field” just last year.
 

About your city


Q: What do you enjoy most about your host city, how’s the quality of life?
A:  I can speak more broadly to the UK since I have worked and lived in London, Cambridge, Dublin and now St. Andrew’s in Scotland. I absolutely love it, and the UK is now home. In fact, I feel more British in that I want to retire to the Dordogne like most Britons!

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A:  The weather can be frightful but makes those days when you can actually put the roof down on your convertible all the more cherished!

Q: Is the city safe?
A:  I think the UK is amazingly safe – Britons don’t realise how good they have it, any kind of gun crime (whilst admittedly rising) is so rare -it still makes national news.
 

About living here


Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in the city as an expat?
A:  Just like other countries, most cities have their own “des-res” areas. I have always lived mostly among other British people.  

Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation?
A:  Compared to the States: smaller in size, larger in character.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A:  Housing is shockingly expensive but it’s the trade off for living in such a great country. The only upside is the relative ease and low cost of getting to the continent. Friends in the US can’t believe when I say we are going to Italy for a long weekend. 

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A:  Many of my clients are expats; professional women from the US, France, Italy – but I think that is because London in particular draws high-calibre people from around the world who want to get amazing work experience that will set them apart in their home countries.

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
A:  It was easier after I started my business developing female leaders,  www.doylemorris.com because it meant I had to literally go out and network – picking up both clients and a good number of friends along the way. 
 

About working here


Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?
A:  Started on working holiday makers visa for two years, then student visa while doing PhD at Cambridge and then got married to a Brit.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work?
A:  London is for high-achievers who want to work with some of the world’s most interesting and diverse people and have a great career experience that will set them apart.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?
A:  I would say shorter days in general (and certainly more holiday entitlement), but like most of my clients in finance, law and technology sectors, I work pretty long hours – but I absolutely love what I do.  

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move?
A: No, originally I came with two suitcases and a gigantic rucksack – and 13 years later, we just had to get professional movers for the first time ever to move the stuff from our 4 bedroom house – how does one accumulate so much?! 
 

Family and children


Q: Did your spouse or partner have problems adjusting to their new home?
A:  No trouble, it is absolutely beautiful here in Fife– coastal walks most mornings followed by good ol’ Scottish porridge – breakfast of champions!  

Q: How would you rate the healthcare?
A:  Fantastic! The first time I had to go to the hospital, I walked around for 30 minutes afterwards looking for somewhere to pay! Plus the NHS covers birth control pills – a boon for working women and a real sign of an advanced society in my book. 
 

And finally…


Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A:  As enthusiastic as I am now, I didn’t like the UK for the first SIX years I lived here! I kept thinking life would start after I returned to the US. What a mistake that was – I kept putting off interesting experiences and forming friendships.  Once I did return to the US with a view to setting up my husband and I in a life there, it was just a matter of months until I realised how British I had become which was very humbling and energising, as it gave me the permission to go back and truly commit to life in Blighty.

~interviewed May 2010
 
 
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