NRI Tips: Key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment!

NRI Tips:  The habits that hinder our adaptation abroad

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~ Maria Robinson

Migration from India to a foreign land is often considered a grueling process, probably one of the hardest thing ever for a new NRI; right?
Not really, it is just the start :). Once we get to our new destination abroad, -USA or Canada or England…- the things are not as we imagined. As mentioned before in NRIs and India diaspora – the key challenges abroad!’, the most difficult part is adjusting to the new society, the new culture; and then building a career that matches our professional background and education.
Why is it that so many of Indians find it so hard to adjust abroad? Even after years, we feel strangers in the land that is dubbed a ‘melting pot’ of multi-culture society.

One of the key reasons for our failure to adjust, even after years, is the isolation from the American society and western culture; our inability to adapt to the local language and norms. Many of us find it hard to carry on a real conversation with locals; the conversation that involves local slang and local style.
Here are some of the main reasons that hinder a desi immigrant from being a ‘Roman while in Rome’; the key habits that won’t let us adapt to overseas’  life:

1. Self isolation:This is a natural tendency of early days in foreign land that becomes a habit, a habit of hiding from everybody and everything that is not India; living in an Indian bubble. If our social circle and desi passé speak no English,- not the kind they speak on the street anyways- there is very little hope for a quick adaptation to the new place.

2. Vices of West:This is an all time classic. The reason we want to be extra cautious about English society is to avoid all the vices of the West. As seen in so many Bollywood movies, English will corrupt your soul! If that is you, then you really need to get out there and see it for yourself. Your soul or conscience is not in danger, neither is your karma.

3. Permanently Temporary: If you came to America to make a quick buck and then go back, then you don’t really need to spend any energy to be a part of the local culture or society; everything is temporary, you will eventually go back home,… right? Not so fast. As I mentioned before in ‘Paradigm of Promise’, not many NRIs return to India, and temporary becomes not-so-temporary.

4. Blame Game:There is always something to blame on, one can blame it on the economy now-a-days. “The job market is too bad to even try, so I am just going to hang-out ‘inside my house’.” What happened to making our own kismat by our own actions, as our elders taught us!

5. Comfort Zone:Leaving everything to kismat is bad, it does not bring any good luck. One has to be in the forefront to grab the opportunities before others do. You got to take some chances. Yes, the karma is a great equalizer; but our karma is nothing but a result of our own deeds. Playing it safe does not help, especially in a western country, actually nowhere!

6. Over-justification:“My job skills are too specialized to find many opportunities.” Or “I could do it, but there is no point to it.” In reality, there is a higher demand for specialists; there are better jobs for those who know their stuff. Hiding behind our own unproven logic is another way to isolate from the real world out there.

7. Mera Bharat Mahaan! (My Great India!): Comparing everything American to the Indian living is another common habit. Living in the past memories of back-home does not help with the current situations – the life happens in the present.

8. ZEE TV and Indian Dramas only: Staying away from English and local media is another way of not exposing to the local languages or local communication styles; this is another way of keeping the distance from the real life outside our front doors.

These are the main habits that continue to isolate us from the local life abroad; the key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment to the new place!

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One Reply to “NRI Tips: Key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment!”

  1. FYI, the post was originally titled ‘ How not to lose accent in 10 years’. The main content are on failure to adaptation, hence the change.

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