Testimony of an expatriate in India

Why go to India? I’ve been asked this question dozens of times. And why not? I’d never been there before, never having set foot in Asia, but I was counting on going there one day after having been all over Europe. You might as well seize this opportunity to see something different, to see a country as an expatriate and not just as a tourist.


Working abroad? I’ve never been opposed to it, quite the contrary. As long as the job I’m offered appeals to me and the destination appeals to me, I see no reason to hesitate. I’m young and childless and my family ties are limited, so it’s time to travel.

Am I ready to enter the professional world? Of course, since the end of my IUT in fact, but my studies haven’t finished so I’m not there yet. And I’ve already “entered the professional world” – I’ve just spent a year there.

What did my one-year stay in India bring me? On a cultural level, there’s no doubt about it, Indian culture is so diverse, and then I went on to China and Thailand. A year abroad without immersing yourself in the culture is impossible. In terms of language, a year’s immersion in an English-speaking country is bound to improve your English. On a technical level, I was finally able to see what it was like to be an engineer, since that’s the position I held during the year in the research laboratory. An engineer is first and foremost a manager, and this year I’ve learned how to lead a team, manage my projects, deal with problems… and all that in complete autonomy.

What a question! Enough to write a novel, in several volumes.

The most astonishing? Permanent contradiction. Everywhere in India, unlike in South America, the poor live with the rich, meaning that in between the beautiful villas of wealthy families, there are always a few handcrafted tents inhabited by very poor families. People have understood that they need each other: the rich offer small jobs to the poor in exchange for a wage: gardening, walking the dog, chopping wood, digging a hole, a swimming pool… And Indians are not naturally envious of others, money doesn’t necessarily have any value, what matters most is religion, so even the most destitute people will have a smile on their face. This is the biggest part of Indian magic, beyond history and religion: just smile at someone and you’ll get a smile in return, or a wave from the children.

There are so many differences that make you hate the country and swear you’ll never set foot in it again, or fall in love with it…

In any case, India can’t be told, it has to be experienced…

A year’s work in India is a fabulous experience to try out, it allows you to discover a lot of things, but it still requires an open mind, a certain curiosity, a fair amount of autonomy and a lot of patience.

The low cost of living means you can travel cheaply and discover other cities, but it’s time that’s sorely lacking when you’re working, as train journeys generally take between 8 and 15 hours and planes are expensive.

After spending a year in India, I know I’ll be coming back as a tourist, there’s so much to see that I didn’t have time to see, but from there to working in India for several years I don’t know, it will depend on the expatriation conditions negotiated with the company, because in India everything is negotiated!

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