NRI Tips: The overseas issues and hurdles for a desi or NRI !
Leaving India and going abroad -USA, Canada, England….-is a very big step, a life changing experience in the true sense of the words. To search for a better future, we often leave behind everything- the friends, the family members, the social circle and the personal identity in most cases.
It is a very common perception, – and true to an extent – that going abroad will improve our life and the lives of those who depend on us. It is always made to sound all too easy to settle and prosper in Western countries as an NRI.
The overseas life is always portrayed to be full of luxury and without hardships. The big mansions and large farming lands in any neighborhood of India are invariably linked to those who have gone abroad.
But, this is far from the real truth. There is no doubt that many of these countries are considered the land of opportunities with a lot of promise. The amenities of daily life and conveniences of a developed society combined with buying power of the dollar offer a lot of lure and attraction.
However, the reality is far different and a newcomer from India is hit with the real truth about life soon after deporting the plane. What was taken for granted till yesterday – the language, the education and common social behavior – is all up for recalibration in the new land
The facts is that the challenges overseas are very real and hurdles to succeed are much higher for a foreigner. It is not one or two isolated issues but a combination of many such problems that create the real experience abroad, an experience quite different than anyone expects.
Here are the key challenges that a newcomer encounters overseas:
Language Barrier: Yes, we speak English in India too; actually most of the education is in English now-a-days. However, it is not the language itself but the way it is spoken. It is not wrong or right way, but a different way. The slang, the pronunciation, the body language for subtle differences of meanings…..; combine all that with the Indian accent, and you have the language barrier. To be successful in a new society, effective communications is a must, as we all soon learn. The language barrier requires new adjustments and it takes time to improve the communication skills.
Cultural Shock: Everything is very different all of a sudden for a new person. The language, the market places, the scene on the street– it is all a bit too much to adjust to overnight. It has nothing to do with being open-minded, fast learner or quick to adapt. It is just like being parachuted into a place far away and far different, and you don’t know where to go once you touch the ground and remove the parachute. The race relations in America are very dynamic and much different from multi-cultural Indian society. Going through the culture shock phase is one of the common experiences abroad. ‘How to overcome the Culture Shock abroad’ article goes into the remedial actions against culture shock.
Family and Peer Pressure: This may be self inflicted pressure in many of the cases, but it is there. We want to be successful and most of us end up being successful, may be in a very different way than we first thought of. However, for a newcomer, the expectations are generally quite high. Based on the stories told back home, -the common perception about living in West – there is this expectation that opportunities would be in abundance and easy to find. Not really.
Ego and Pride Adjustment: As the days go by and there is no luck in finding the kind of career opportunities once dreamed of, the pressure starts to build. The weight of all this combined with the realities of daily hurdles can play a big drag on anyone’s psyche. That is when many questions get raised: was it the best decision to go abroad? Is it all really worth it? What am I doing wrong? ….The bright lights of the future that once shined so strong, is not-so-bright in reality.
Education: This may not be an issue, it is just one more thing to question. Is it my education or lack of it that is pulling me back? Do I need a local degree or diploma to succeed? Once again, it is the combination of all negatives that affects the self-confidence.
A dollar is a dollar: In India, a dollar earns high value and respect because of the currency exchange rate. A few hundred dollars are many thousands in rupees. When we live in US and work in US, we earn in US dollars and spend in US dollar. And here in US, a few hundred dollars are just that – a few hundred of dollars. !
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- Indian Beliefs or Perceptions of American and European Culture