What to expect when moving from India to the USA

charu-chaturvedi-774709-unsplashMoving abroad can be amazing. You get to experience new cultures, meet new people and discover things about yourself that you never expected.
Moving to Chicago was an excellent decision for me, and I’ve come back with tons of unforgettable memories from my time there.

There’s a kind of nervous excitement about moving abroad that fills you with butterflies.
It comes from not knowing what to expect.

I hope this post will dispel some of that nervousness & increase the excitement even more!
Read on to see what to expect when you move from India to the USA:

  • The People
    The first thing you notice is the number of foreigners walking around you, till you realize that it’s you who’s a foreigner!
    In my experience, most people are adorably sweet and polite. I can’t even imagine how nice Canadians must be if this is considered brash.
  • Language
    If you can speak English, you’re pretty much sorted, but navigating accents can still be an issue, as they vary quite drastically even within the country. Give it a couple of days and your ear will start to adjust to them.

    Your Indian language becomes your code language. However, be careful – After a while, you tend to lose all filter in public, making you hyper-aware of your conversations around Indians.

    Being multi-lingual is not common there, so people generally assume that you’ve learned English only after coming to the USA – this has led to a lot of funny conversations: “You’ve been here for just 2 months!? How is your English so great!?”

  • Unintentional Racism
    Like the earlier example about English, you might experience some amount of unintentional racism – in that, they really don’t know enough about India.
    Once, a cashier at a store very excitedly said to me

    “Oh, you’re from India. How exotic! Do you guys have like monkeys and animals just jumping around in the streets? How is that like?” True story.

    He honestly thought that India is still an undeveloped jungle. But, like I said, it wasn’t meant to offend.

  • The food
    dan-gold-105699-unsplashYes, the food tends to be blander than we’re typically used to. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need to ask for extra spicy food in most places. But be careful in Thai & Mexican restaurants, the extra spicy there could really burn your tongue.
    In department stores, be prepared to be struck by the sheer variety of everything! Milk! There are like 20 types of just milk – the only milk types I knew about before moving was Cow milk & Buffalo milk. So try out the food. Especially the bread. Mmmm… the bread.
  • The seasons
    As Indians, we don’t really get to experience seasons. You put on a coat in the winters & carry an umbrella in monsoons, but you don’t really feel it. In Chicago, however, you feel the full impact of every season – Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter. You notice the first tulips blooming at the beginning of Spring, and you get your hair broken in half going outdoors with wet hair in winters. True Story. I can write a full post on just the magical weather in Chicago – maybe I will.
  • Independence
    By that, I don’t just mean freedom. I mean you won’t be dependent on ANYONE.

    You will be your own cook, maid, handyman, and everything else.

    It can be terrifying, but once you start to get the hang of it, there’s no feeling quite like it. You know that you can take care of yourself – anywhere.

  • Friends are family
    In a foreign country, the friends you make are your family.
    You share everything with them, and they’re the ones you can count on. It is very important that you have people who care about you around you.
  • Lots of video calls
    You’ll be missing people back home a LOT – so be prepared for a lot of video calls & time-zone management.

I hope you enjoy this new chapter in your life as much as I did.
If you have had any such experiences, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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66 thoughts on “What to expect when moving from India to the USA

  1. I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my site :).

  2. My cousin is in the U.S now, and whatever she tells me is quite similar. We do a lot of video calling and she mostly complains about how much she misses Indian food!
    #MyFriendAlexa #literarylehareads

  3. I have been in the USA for last 12 years and I agree to a few of the points. Luckily, I have always been surrounded with really good people that have made these 12 years beautiful memories.

    #MothersGurukulreads #Myfriendalexa

  4. Your post made me nostalgic and took me back to the time when we moved to the US. I missed the family but had great friends there. of course, it’s different but slowly you get used to it.

  5. I have been in the US for nearly 4 years… I noticed whatever you have written in the post… The only difference is that I stay in Austin… So the weather is very different from Chicago… It actually gives me the feeling that I am still in India… My experience over here has been pretty good, though I would still go back to India at the first calling!

  6. That is indeed a very informative post. I have never been to the US myself but I have several friends and cousins living there. One of my friends who came back to India had a rather bad time there personally as he went through a divorce and he now dislikes US no end. Tells me american are racist and curses them. I guess the personal difficulties he went through are colouring his judgement of the place and people. I was rather surprised you know, because like you most people tell me that people are rather nice and sweet and any racist tendencies are not really meant to be. Even my cousins and other friends except this one person are very happy living in the US.

  7. I recall my 3 month stay in Zurich and it was indeed an amazing experience that I cherish. There is a different kind of a feeling as you set about rediscovering yourself and are pretty amazed at times by your abilities.

  8. Nice post! Brings up memories of my first move to Texas (with no Indian restaurants) and never being exposed to non-Indian food – you can imagine my plight! 🙁 Anyways, adjusted and still love Tex-Mex and all!!

  9. My friend moved to Munich from Bangalore. And it was similar. Few of the Germans were surprised that we live in big houses. Guess we should thank movies like slumdog or another similar one that portrayed such perception.

  10. these are lovely tips for anyone moving to the US. I can understand the accent challenge. My 3 yr old speaks in an American accent (that he has picked up from You Tube I guess) and some time we don’t pick up in the first go!

  11. Completely agree, nicely elaborated and covered all aspects. Thanks for sharing such useful information. #MyFriendAlexa #DelhibloggerReads

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