Desis Living Abroad Experience In Usa

By RateDesi - 06 Jun 2018

Desi Life in United States of America

No, life is not better for Desi's in USA. You need to be extremely extroverted, if you want to make friends of other color and origins. If you were that extroverted, chances are, you would already have been having a fantastic time in India.

Even if you do decide to move to the US for studies, your sphere of influence will still end up being Indian. You will live in an Indian community near campus and all your room mates will be Indian. Once again, you need to be extroverted to get along with a reasonable number of these Indians. Also, deliberately picking non-Indian friends over Indian friends would mean social suicide. You'll end up being shunned as racist by everybody, so it's better to be equally friendly to all; which will end you up in a predominantly desi crowd.

You do get better privacy here. You can invite anyone to your room and spend the night with them without having to worry about Mom walking in. You can be friends with anyone you want and nobody would stop you. All your desi friends would give you ample privacy. The few of them who do gossip, won't cause too much damage anyway. Once again, all of these benefits apply only if you are reasonably extroverted.

Also, jobs pay you pretty high when you convert them to Indian rupees. So, it's very easy to send money home and keep your family comfortable. However, food, board, fuel, car payments, insurance and health costs and taxes are expensive. The bureaucracy isn't too much better than India either. Plus, you need to continuously interact with the government for your everyday things; ranging from license transfer, re-titling and re-registering your car every time you move to different states, tax returns every year for state and federal and so on. In addition, you need to keep your immigration status up to date by running from pillar to post applying for various status changes and so on. You do all this, with little to no freedom to change jobs whenever you want, nor can you freelance on your own, invest your money or start a side-business that easily.

Your immigration status will constantly be a burden to you and keeps you from thriving in life.

All in all, life is good in the US until mid 20s. Once you reach 25, life in India starts to feel better, since people your age have reasonable amounts of personal freedom, so life is similar both in the US and India albeit these immigration headaches. So overall, life is better in India. However, you would realize it only after experiencing life in the US.

Why do Indians stay there even if they want to come back?

We NRIs would love to have the liberty of traveling between US and India back and forth as we see fit. Unfortunately, the broken immigration system of the US forces us to make hard and committed choice between here and there. If I want to shift my residence freely between the two countries, I need a green card. To get a green card, I need to commit 8 to 10 years of my life to the US. Also, once I do get the green card, I need to pay taxes no matter what country's citizen I am or where I'm living. So after acquiring a green card, most Indians make a conscious choice of remaining in the US just to avoid double taxes.

NRIs of 7+ years would tell you that the US is better, because India was much worse, 7 years ago. I moved to the US 4 years ago and it wasn't all that much better than life in India. During this period, I've visited India twice. My first visit was in 2013. Back then, India felt in-par with the US. Transportation was my biggest challenge because 'auto wallahs'. This was still way more convenient than having to own a car in the US.

My second visit was in 2016. By then, Uber and Ola cabs were extensively used in Bangalore. A 2 hour trip would cost about 6 US dollar tops. The only challenge I faced the previous time I visited i.e transportation, was completely eliminated. Modi's Swatch Bharat policy was a new addition. All of the streets looked much cleaner; as if somebody had just swept the floor. I was particularly impressed with a new pub called Arbor Brewing Company. This pub served craft beers, had a pool table and a Foosball table. The crowd in it, was young, hip and college-sh with a few foreigners here and there. I couldn't have possibly imagined a European style tavern in India; something I think, is precisely what the OP of this question had in mind. No, this isn't a night-club (which is already plenty in number). This is a good old tavern where all people can simply sit and socialize, regardless of age, gender or marital status ('stags').

I felt for the first time, Bangalore was far more advanced and comfortable than anywhere I've ever lived in the US. A few more improvements, like continuous electricity and faster internet speeds would turn India into a paradise, at least for me.

If you have a strong attachment with your not-so-tech-savvy family in India, remaining in India would make more sense. I, on the other hand have folks who know how to stay in touch through skype, whatsapp and everything else. I interact with my family more often when I’m abroad, than when I’m with them in person. If this is not the case for you and your folks, there’s a bigger likelihood for you to feel homesick.

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