What to Expect When Moving to India
The country of India is growing quickly, both in population and economically. This means that more and more people are choosing to move there from America. While it is true that the culture there is business driven and many of the residents speak English, this is pretty much where the similarities end between India and the United States. If you do not prepare, you may leave yourself susceptible to a huge amount of culture shock. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are planning on moving to India.
The first thing to look into is the customs regulations for items that are imported into their country. You will need the standard things like visas, passports, and an inventory of items that you are bringing with you. They also have regulations regarding many other items that you might bring, so contacting the American embassy in India or their customs agency should give you a good idea of what to expect. Some regulations to keep in mind are that automobiles are very limited and taxed quite heavily. Due to the huge population, it is the second most populated country in the world, the amount of traffic and air pollution is quite high in India. Therefore, they are very strict on automobiles being imported in to the country. Unless it is an absolute necessity, you will probably not want to import your car into the country. The same is true for electronic devices. Lastly, beef products are prohibited inside the country. This is mostly due to religious beliefs that cows are a sacred animal in India, and many residents do not eat the meat. This is not true for chickens however, as they are the main protein eaten by the average Indian resident.
Somethings that you should plan on bringing to India with you include adaptors for appliances, and heavy clothing. Much like many European countries, the outlets in India are quite different from those in the United States. You will therefore need an adaptor in order for your appliances to work. This also includes a voltage converter. This will keep your appliances from overheating, or even exploding, as Indian electrical systems are not equipped to handle appliances with high voltage output. As far as heavy clothing is concerned, you might be a little confused. India is known as being a very hot country, but this is not the case everywhere. Many locations are very cold, and the ones that are hot will have a huge temperature drop in the winter months.
Differences in Culture
There are also a lot of cultural differences between India and the United States that extend far past the treatment of cows. For example, India is very overpopulated so the residents there are forced to live in close proximity to each other, and personal space is not as respected as it is in the US. It is not uncommon for a friend to enter your room or home unannounced in India because of this. You also do not want to come in contact with a stray animal in India, as most of them are very feral, to the point that rabies shots cost around five dollars in American currency as opposed to hundreds in the United States. Furthermore, the Indian people were not raised to be outwardly polite like people in America have. You will most likely not hear hello, goodbye, please, or thank you, which may seem rude, but in the Indian culture, most people leave each other alone unless they have business with another person. You will also find that the cuisine there is quite spicy, and you are unlikely to find any food that is not from India. Your stomach will get used to it eventually, but it may take time. Also, street vendors often make food with unsanitary water, so be careful. Last, like many other cultures, the women in India tend to wear more conservative clothing, and they will expect any foreigners to follow the same guidelines.
Despite all of these differences, India is a wonderful country with a growing economy. If you are looking to live in an area that is completely different than the lifestyle you are accustomed to in the United States, India is a great place to start. As long as you are patient, and respect the local laws and customs, you should have no problem acclimating to the Indian way of life.