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India is a huge country and expats are usually found in the big cities. Newcomers to the country often talk of a huge culture shock when they first arrive. The onslaught on the senses can be overwhelming and it is a wise expat who gains as much insight as possible to the way of life in India prior to arrival.
A good starting point can be websites such as https://www.expatexchange.com/advice/95/24904/54/India/Culture-Shock-in-Mumbai which describes some of the experiences encountered by one expat while living in India. There are a number of India forums and /covers a wide variety of topics and is a valuable source of information.
A comprehensive list of a range of forums and activities open to everyone living in India can be found here: https://www.meetup.com/cities/in/. The website lists a number of locations in the country where meetup groups get together and take part in activities as diverse as rock climbing, trekking, cycling, data science, photography, public speaking tuition and many more. Locations range from Abhayapuri to Visakhapatnam.
Expatwomen.com lists a number of websites dedicated to helping new expats settle into life in India. The Dehli Network (https://www.delhinetwork.net/) is an organisation run by volunteers and has around 500 members. The Network links new expats to organisations and groups sharing their interest – be it physical fitness, art, or any other activity.
The American Women’s Club of Bombay (https://awcmumbai.com/) is a social club for women living in Mumbai and arranges regular lunches and coffee mornings as well as fund raising events for community outreach groups. The AWCS welcomes all women living in Mumbai and is not restricted to those of American origin.
The Newcomers Club worldwide is another resource for expats in India to help them settle into their new life. The website gives links to various groups that welcome expats from all walks of life.
Some of the expat groups in India are well established and a lot can be learnt from their websites, and some of the advice on offer is invaluable to many new expats. While it is a comfort to many foreign nationals to have such a link to their country of origin or other foreigners in India, one must not forget that the experience of living in any foreign country is enhanced by stepping out of one’s comfort zone and discovering culture, way of live and all other aspects of daily living while in the midst of it. The knowledge gained by finding out for one’s self the challenges living in India can present for someone not familiar with the country’s customs and ways of life are just as much a part of the whole experience of coming to live in India as meeting new people via an expat group. The insights gained by a newcomer who is not afraid to explore can then perhaps be shared with members of one of the expat groups already established. Alternatively, there is always scope for an expat to set up a new group in India.
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