British expat in India shares advice for moving abroad – ‘it’s important to do’

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British expats have to adapt to a new culture, learn a new language and integrate in a new country quickly. Relocating to another country may sound like a dream, but there are a lot of changes to take into account.

Lauren quit her job in England to move to India and be with her now husband.

She said: “I love it here but unfortunately, it’s not always lotuses and marigold.”

Planning to stay in India “forever”, Lauren believed “in 20 or even 50 years’ time, children are still going to shout ‘foreigner!’ at me”. 

Her life in India could not be any more different to her life in the UK.

Lauren now lives with her in-laws, something she said was “the common thing to do in India after marriage”.

She also quit her job as a pharmacist and is now “officially a ‘housewife’”.

Moving to India was not the easiest for Lauren, who said: “The city I live, Nagpur, doesn’t have many foreign faces but I have managed to find another English lady married to an Indian.

“I think it is important to be able to socialise with other expats if you move to a foreign land, a small piece of home.”

She also had trouble with the language and said: “I find the language barrier has been the most deflating and isolating factor, especially as the people I live with struggle with English.

“I don’t know what is going on a lot of the time, when everyone else is laughing- I am clueless.”

Indian culture was also a bit of a shock for the Briton. 

She said: “The Indian definition of personal space is walking into your bedroom without knocking… so no walking around in your underwear without locking the door.”

She explained the hardest thing about her move were “isolation and lack of privacy”.

She continued: “Living with my in-laws and having two maids means I can never cook in the kitchen alone, eat a meal with just my husband or even sit and watch the TV alone.

“I love my own company so this has been difficult.”

The lack of privacy may also come from Lauren being an expat, as people around her were curious.

She warned other expats: “Be prepared for people looking at you and tell you that you are a foreigner.

“I like to look down at myself in shock when people shout it at me, as if I didn’t know I was a foreigner already.”

She also mentioned she felt “uncomfortable sometimes as foreigners often get a lot of unwanted attention in India”.

While Lauren planned to stay in India, she missed family and friends, and said she was certain on her next visit to England she would be “hot footing it to the closest supermarket and buying cheddar cheese and Branston pickle”.

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