Colombian Expat living in India
Bibiana Cuellar is 25 year old Columbian expat who has been living in Delhi, India. She came to India 7 months ago as an intern for a NGO that provides education and support for the less fortunate. Her areas of focus are human rights and Social work. Before coming to India she finished her university and was looking for a change in her life, so she decided to look for opportunities abroad and trough and extensive search she decided to come to India.
Here’s the interview with Bibiana…
- What did you know about India before coming?
I had heard that is a colorful country, one of the world`s fastest growing markets and is the country of the temples. I knew that many religions are professed here, but the one that has more followers is the Hinduism. I also had heard about the poverty and the huge population and about the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
- What expectations did you have about your experience here?
I wanted to know more about this culture, about the religion, the language… and to learn from all the differences that we have with them. To know many people from different places.
- What was the first thing that shocked you when you first came here?
The noise, the chaos and the driving style of the Indians. And the RATS!!!
- What things took you the longest to get used to? (Food, people, noise, dirt, traffic, pollution, etc.)
The noise and the dirt.
- In your daily life what are the main challenges you find?
The crowded places, especially the metro, they use to push people to get a seat. And to cross the streets. The smell of the people.
- Professionally what are main challenges you find?
Nothing until now
- Culturally, what things are hard to deal with?
The lack of civilized people: they are not polite. They belief that rats are the representation of god (because there are rats everywhere). Sometimes the language.
- What has helped you the most to get used to live here?
I think the most important thing is my attitude to face all the situations. I came knowing that I had to face some difficulties, so I was prepare for everything.
- How about housing? Was it complicated to deal with landlords? Were there new rules you were not expecting?
In my current place I don’t have any problem, actually am happy living there!, but in the place before, I had some rules (cannot eat non vegetarian food inside the house, to call the landlord when you are not going to be in the house and inform him…), and the landlord doesn’t speak English.
- Do people treat you differently because of being a foreigner?
Sometimes. The tickets in some places are more expensive for foreigners. They also use to think that foreigners are a synonym of money!. But in other cases you have a privilege if you are foreigner…
- Was it hard to deal with the immigration requirements?
Not to enter to the country, I just had to take the documents to the embassy of India and Colombia and after get my visa everything was fine. But once you are living here, the process with the FRRO is too long and complicated. They ask for many documents.
- What recommendations, tips and advice could you give to people coming to India for work?
Be ready to go many times to the FRRO if you are coming for more than 3 months.
The pollution is very high, so you have to be prepared to face that situation.
I have heard that summer is extremely hot and you have to wear a lot of clothes, especially if you are a girl, to cover your breasts and legs…
Be prepare to get use to eat spicy food!
Be ready to live in a chaotic country, with a lot of noise, traffic, people, smells…
Be positive in every situation you have to face to maintain the emotional stability.
Be ready to see things that you never thought to see…
You will love this country or you will hate it… just 2 options!!!
- Finally, what are the positive things of being here? (BTW, thank you for your time 🙂 Have a great day!)
This country is a crazy one, if you see everything like an experience to learn you will enjoy the traffic; the cows, the pigs and the dogs in the middle of the streets; the monkeys and the squirrels in the trees; the difficulty to understand people who doesn’t speak English; the difficulty to cross streets (you will learn how to do it like the Indian style)…and all of these kind of situations that usually you cannot see in other country!
There are a lot of places to visit: temples, cities (hot and cold cities), rivers, lakes, mountains, beaches, deserts… in some cities you can ride camels and elephants!!!!
You can learn a lot from this people, from this society and from this culture!!
You also can find good and kind people!!!
I really like this country!!!