Story of an expat living in the UK

Tales Of An Indian Expat: A Story Of Living Abroad

Reading Time: 8 minutes

The decision to move abroad can be scary. There’s a constant fear of the unknown, a feeling of being in the unfamiliar. But what if I told you that moving to another country can open new doors for you and even enrich your life?

Well, that is exactly what has happened to thousands of people from India, like me, who have had the courage to take that step. Whether it’s for better career prospects, educational opportunities, new friends, or just a change of scenery, people from India who have made the move have found that their overseas experience was worth every bit of effort and sacrifice involved. Here are some facts and bits about living as an Indian in another country that might inspire you too.

Adjustment Is The Key Mantra

Beautiful cityscape of Chicago
Stunning cityscapes of Chicago

Adjusting to life as an Indian expat can be extremely exhausting. More on some days than others. But it’s important to adjust.

Living abroad has its own fair share of challenges for Indians. It’s essential for us to be prepared for those long and tiring days.

  • It is important that you get used to the visa regime in your new country as quickly as possible.  Lengthy and tedious immigration processes can make you lose track of time.
  • It is vital to speak the local language as soon as you can, to familiarise yourself with the local culture and environment. Being able to communicate effectively will make it much easier for you to adapt to your new surroundings and make friends easily.
  • Being careful about your safety is also an essential factor while living abroad. Be super aware of your surroundings at all times, keep track of your belongings while out at night, and avoid unfamiliar locations after dark.
  • It is important to make new friends and embrace the culture shock rather than refusing it.
  • The best way to keep cultural identity alive is by participating in local festivals, events, and activities as much as possible.

I learnt very quickly that it helps to learn and embrace the local customs – whether it’s food or fashion or something else. One can also try taking part in volunteer work or other forms of community service for a wider perspective on life in the host country. By doing this, you will not only feel more at ‘home’ but also look forward to living abroad even more.

Make The Best Of Both Worlds

Celebrate Indian festivals abroad
Holi in London

As an Indian expat, there are many ways you can make the most of your life abroad by engaging with the local community and immersing yourself in the local culture and lifestyle. For example, you can attend cultural events, join social clubs, and find other ways to get involved in the community. This will help you become more familiar with local customs and practices and become more comfortable in your new home country.

You can also learn the local language as this will help you get ahead in your career and develop better relationships with people in your country of residence. By speaking the local language, you will be able to communicate more effectively and become more connected to the community.

From my experience, it is a good idea to invest in property as soon as practical as this can serve as a valuable asset in terms of financial security and equity building. Countries like the US and UK have a higher yield on properties compared to India, and therefore owning property versus renting one makes an incredible amount of sense. Additionally, by owning a property abroad, you can secure your financial future and become more self-reliant.

Food Habits & Cravings

As Indians living abroad, you may often miss the food you are used to eating back home. Some of us get so engrossed in our new lives abroad that we make it a point to eat at the same place every time. But when we return home, our minds can’t help but go back to those sizzling tandoori chicken or piping hot biryani. This can even be the case with traditional Indian meals like dosa, poha or even traditional Bengali veg dishes.

It is not uncommon for us to get hungry at odd hours of the day as well. When this happens, we can’t help but crave dishes from India. Many Indians who move abroad find themselves eating out more as compared to when they were back home due to the ease of access to international cuisines on a budget.

Biryani is my favourite food. And I learnt it the hard way when I could not find a decent biryani place near me in my initial months. Hence, it is important that you don’t let your cravings rule your life and understand your personal preferences and habits better before moving abroad.

How Does The Family Feel Back In India

Celebrating Durga Puja in London
Durga Puja in London could give any Pujo in India a run for their money

Going abroad was traditionally viewed as an attractive option for many Indians due to factors such as pollution, corruption, and other political reasons. Most families still have parents and children living under the same roof. Those ageing family members – parents and other seniors – living back in India, suddenly feel lonely and left behind upon your departure. But for the most part, families in India feel a sense of pride when their loved ones live abroad and take advantage of educational and employment opportunities.

Our Thoughts on Returning to India

Beautiful countryside in Scotland
You feel like going back, and then you have views like this. Location: Scotland

I think that everyone should experience living abroad at least once in their lives. It can provide valuable insights and exposure to different cultures, economies, and ecosystems. I believe an expat lifestyle can be very rewarding. However, it is important to take the time to truly savour each new experience before making any final decisions about returning home.

For professionals considering repatriating to India at any stage of their career, there are probably more career opportunities in India than in some of the western countries today. With rising pay levels, increased disposable incomes, and a higher purchasing power of the rupee, a ‘lower’ level of pay can often mean a more luxurious and comfortable lifestyle back in India.

Above all, I think that a return to India is a personal decision that should be made with care and reflection. It’s important to consider your values, goals, and financial stability, as well as any other factors that could influence your decision.

Lessons I Learnt While Living Abroad

Living abroad can be a great opportunity to learn new things and make new friends. Especially if you’re being adaptable and open to new experiences. Embracing the unfamiliar can help you build resilience and a positive outlook on life. Be patient and take things one step at a time. Remember that life is unpredictable, so don’t get bogged down in details. Cultivate a positive attitude and always stay positive in the face of adversity. By following these tips, you can embrace an exciting new chapter in your life.

My Final Advice For Those Who Are Thinking Of Moving Abroad

Beautiful train rides in Scotland
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland.

A move abroad has to be deliberated and a well-thought-through decision. Unlike this Jacobite steam train ride shown above, the views may not always be this scenic, and the ride may not always be smooth. So here are some pointers to ponder:

  • Before you decide to make the move abroad, it’s vital to have a solid plan. This will help you determine the best options for yourself and your family.
  • Research extensively about the country you’re interested in living in.
  • Be aware of the health risks involved with living in a foreign country.
  • Before departing, ensure that your family is properly prepared for the new environment and surroundings. Familiarise your children with the new language and culture as early as possible, so that they can adjust easily and without any difficulties.


There is no denying the fact that living abroad has its perks as well as challenges. It can be a wonderful change of scenery and experience for many, but it can also be a lot of work adapting to new surroundings, new people, and new ways of life. The points and advice I have shared in this blog are just some of the experiences that many Indians have gone through while adapting to life abroad—and they can help you understand what to expect from the ‘other side’ better. As always, I hope this helped you understand more about living an Indian expat life and aiding your transition.

For more practical tips in case you are looking to move overseas, write to Masalamug today in the comments section! Meet you again soon, until then

Beautiful beach sunset
Gorgeous beach sunset at Mykonos, Greece
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