Originally from Spain, Ana is a Spanish Expat living in India from last few years. She loves travelling, spending time with other people, reading, partying, etc. She is Telecom Engineer in Telecom International Corporate in India.
Here’s the interview with Ana…
- What did you know about India before coming?
I was with familiar with the country, mainly South Part, since my mum used to live in Kerala for 3 years.
- What expectations did you have about your experience here?
Grow professionally since the position offered here to me was a huge step forward in my career.
- What was the first thing that shocked you when you first came here?
The amount of garbage on the street sides (especially Noida) and the amount of traffic.
- What things took you the longest to get used to? (Food, people, noise, dirt, traffic, pollution, etc.)
Traffic and pollution. And the total lack of (effective) processes and protocols when it comes to working culture.
- In your daily life what are the main challenges you find?
That most of the people (not everyone) will try to cheat on you. For example, if I want to do grocery shopping, I am subjected to places with fix prices. When I want to take an autorickshaw, I have to fight to go by meter or at least know the real price for that distance in advance.
- Professionally what are main challenges you find?
Again, the total lack of (effective) processes and protocols when it comes to working culture. Everything is for “now”. You get meeting invites 5 minutes before this start. Additionally, just cause of being an expat the demands set on you are higher (still this I can understand up to some extend since just cause I am an expat and I was born at another part of the world, my salary is higher and the chances I got in life are better than most of the local people in this country).
- Culturally, what things are hard to deal with?
The fact that still in some circles, women are separated from guys when it comes to drink, smoke, etc. Even though, my perception is that, there is being a change with younger generations, especially for those Indians who got the chance to travel, but still. Also the fact that among Indians themselves they treat themselves badly (e.g. in many cases, you can see how a “rich Delhi kid” would treat a bartender in a very demeaning way). Finally, the strong boundaries and strict rules when it comes to marriage. It is still shocking to me that people (educated or uneducated) ask each other: “Are you married?. Yes?, Love or arranged marriage?”
- What has helped you the most to get used to live here?
Having local friends, not only expats but also Indians.
- How about housing? Was it complicated to deal with landlords? Were there new rules you were not expecting?
My landlord is a psycho who calls me an “indecent woman” just because I reach home late, with people, or do not even come home for sleeping that night. Luckily I am moving, but he made my life hell.
- Does people treat you differently because of being a foreigner?
But once you show respect towards their culture (you try to learn hindi, you eat like them, you live like them) they will “almost” accept you as one of them.
- Was it hard to deal with the immigration requirements?
Specially the 2nd year when my landlord was not willing to sign a required document for me. I only got through by means of bribing the police officers.
- What recommendations, tips and advice could you give to people coming to India for work?
Patience, lots of patience. Open your mind to new ways of working.
- What are the positive things of being here?
The people, the culture at human level (not in corporate life J). Also, being an expat in a 3rd world country working for corporate/embassy you have the option to live a luxury life you would not get in your home country (at least the most of the people in Europe I deal with, we don’t have drivers, we are not allowed inside all possible nightclubs, we don’t have maids, etc.).
Additionally this country has taught me patience and do not fear challenges any more. All can be managed somehow, and in our western culture, we worry and panic about too many things which are not really important at all.
- Finally, can you give a brief description of your background (Work area, time spent in India, Age, interests? (BTW, thank you for your time 🙂 Have a great day!)
My mum moved to South India when I was 18 years old. So, not only that I spent most of my life travelling around the globe due to my father’s job, but also by then I used to spent some of my college summer vacation in South India. I work for a telecom international corporate, and like many companies, services are being outsourced more and more to India and China. They needed someone here to secure that quality is maintained across processes, and even though I was not senior enough for this position, since nobody from my team in Spain wanted to move to “dirty and loud” India, I got the position. I am a telecom engineer who loves travelling, spending time with other people, reading and why not, partying! J
To conclude, like many people, I have a hate love relationship towards this country, but overall, I am happy here and would not like to move for now.