When we move to unfamiliar, our eyes widen, although our values don’t change, the way we perceive life changes constantly. The process of moving to India invariably causes some initial challenges to expats on how they engage, learn, absorb, and discover a new culture. Sayo Osine moved to India from Japan, one year ago, to be with her husband. Though not too keen about living in India, initially, expat life in Gurgaon—the infrastructure and the varieties of international cuisine, changed her mind. Today, she spends her time traveling and learning to read and write in Hindi!
Have you experienced the expat life elsewhere, how different is it from here?
I worked in Hong Kong a few years ago. Hong Kong is an international city, and since it is a duty-free city, you can find a lot of foreign products at reasonable prices. Besides that, you can reach anywhere by metro, bus, and taxi within one hour. On the other hand, in India, imported products are sold at unbelievable prices because of the high duty rate, and we cannot go everywhere easily as the mode of transportation is limited, and usually, the services are delayed.
In fact, the Japanese expat community in India faces the same kind of inconvenience and stress, but we can all become closer by sharing these struggles.
Many expats we’ve spoken to said that it’s tough to meet people and make friends here, do you share this struggle too?
Since people from different countries have different cultural backgrounds, we may think it is difficult to make friends. In fact, the Japanese expat community in India faces the same kind of inconvenience and stress, but we can all become closer by sharing these struggles. So, we should always be open-minded.
How do you spend your time here?
I take Hindi classes. It’s handy, especially in negotiating prices at the local market, and in communicating with the handymen, the drivers, and the maid. Whenever I’m able to read the Hindi letters written in shops, I get really impressed with myself.
Other than that, my husband and I travel a lot. India is a huge country and has a fascinating culture that differs from region to region. Moreover, there are so many other countries close to India. It’s very easy to travel to places I’ve never been to, such as the Middle East, South Asia, and the islands in the Indian Ocean.
India is a dynamic and adventurous country. You can enjoy India, but take care of your health and safety.
If you can give one advice to expats moving to India, what would it be?
India is a dynamic and adventurous country. You can enjoy India, but take care of your health and safety. Don’t be afraid! Here, we can find a lot of beautiful things!
Every expat impacts the local community in one way or the other, but at the same time, a host country also influences the life of an expat. How was living in India made a difference in yours?
I learned to be extremely patient. Whether it’s a grocery store, post office, or even the airport, you always find long queues. Everything is delayed from transport, delivery of items to a repairman. With these experiences, I learned how to wait patiently. As a result, I know how to control my feelings, and my life became less frustrated and peaceful.