July 18 2006
-Where were you born?
Denver, Colorado, USA
-Are you living alone or with your family?
I live alone.
-In which country and city are you living now?
-How long have you been living there?
-What is your age?
I'm 23 years old.
-When did you come up with the idea of living in India?
I was graduating from Northwestern University in June of 2006 and I was looking for a job. I had always wanted to work abroad, but never imagined I would get the opportunity straight out of college. Having experience with a multinational corporation has great benefits when it comes to my future career and education opportunities. When I saw a job opening at Infosys Technologies to work in Bangalore, I jumped at it.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a working permit?
At first, the consular general told me that there was an Indian policy that said: No foreigner will be issued an employment visa if there is an equally or more qualified native Indian candidate. This was clearly a ridiculous argument as it is the responsibility of the company hiring me to make that judgment, so I was issued a one-year visa (I had requested a three-year visa) about a week later.
-How do you make your living in India? Do you have any type of income generated?
I have a job as a Marketing Executive at Infosys Technologies, so that is how I support myself. Infosys also provides me with accommodations, so finding an apartment or paying rent is not an issue. I found my job through the career services Web site at Northwestern University, so I was clearly in the US when I found the job. My entire reason for coming to Bangalore was to work for Infosys.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
There is no single local language in Bangalore. While many people think that the national language is Hindi, many people in this country do not speak it. Every state, and in some cases every community, has its own language. Just in Bangalore, people either speak Hindi, Kannada or English. The most common language in Bangalore, at least for an expat, is most definitely English.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
I definitely miss my home and family. As time has passed I’ve become more accustomed to being so far from my family and American friends. In the little free time I have, I travel around India and Asia as well as play in bands in Bangalore. The rest of my time is spent doing what any working 20-something would do. I work during the week and go out to dinners and pubs on the weekends, at least when I’m not traveling. I’ve also taken up yoga, which has quickly become one of my favorite activities.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
I plan to move back to the US in about 9 months to continue working for Infosys in an office in either San Francisco or New York City.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
My company covers my accommodations, so I live in an apartment owned by Infosys with another expat friend who works with me.
-What is the cost of living in India?
It’s extremely variable. You could live in Bangalore for as little as $100 a month, but your situation would be fairly poor. Most expats who live in Bangalore live off at least $600 a month.
-What do you think about the locals or the Indian people?
It depends what you mean by locals. Because of the caste system, locals could mean anything from the people I work with to the people who live in my community (not necessarily the same). The people I work with are extremely accustomed to having foreigners around, so that was never a problem. In fact, they have been fantastic! The more “local” locals often speak Kannada and have not had much exposure to Westerners. They often stare at foreigners and can also be harassing to expats, especially women.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in India?
Positive: low cost of living (lavish lifestyle with relatively little money), Indian food, incredible experience of working in an emerging market and industry
Negative: poverty, poor infrastructure, availability of Western brands, Indian food
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in India?
No amount of research will prepare you for living in India. Like living in any foreign country, much less in the third world, it pays dividends to come in with an open mind. India will force you out of your comfort zone, and that must be something you are willing to not only tolerate, but embrace.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about India?
Nate Linkon: Citizen of the World (http://indialinkon.blogspot.com)
This is my own blog.