Travails of Going Abroad

I have heard people comment-‘Oh,he is living abroad.he is having a good life’. I want to tell those people that it is the case of ‘Grass being greener on the other side’.

Living abroad surely has its share of advantages.You get better exposure and get to enjoy better standards of living and public infrastructure.It also helps in financial gains to some extent.But it is not as  rosy as it looks.

I am not going to talk about people going abroad for a short trip or travel purposes.That is a different ball game altogether.But I am going to talk about those who go abroad for a longer term or with the intention of permanently settling there.

I have friends who migrated for higher studies and continued as citizens in their country of migration.Theirs was a planned migration so that they could ultimately immigrate someday.

Then comes the second category.Those who went abroad on a long term for financial gains,mainly to close home loans and ensure a higher standard of living for their families.Usually such people have an intention to come back to India at some point of time,once their financial goals are met.Such people come back to India mainly because of some personal reasons.Either to look after aging parents or to concentrate on their childrens’ education.

There are many challenges for those going on a long term abroad.First the accommodation problems.Indians go abroad mostly for saving money.Excessive company-sponsored rentals eat into their monthly salary.For those going with their family,it is a bigger challenge.They cannot simply take an accommodation based purely on economic considerations.The spouse and childrens’ needs and safety should be taken into consideration.

Secondly,when you have a family,we tend to eat home-cooked food properly.Which means you have to shop for Indian cooking stuff and also buy gadgets like mixers and cookers.You also have to invest in different appliances and furniture for running a family.Unless it is really a long term,purchasing such costly stuff for a couple of years is draining on the family income.The sad part is such heavy stuff cannot be carried back to India most of the time when shifting back and has to be disposed off at cheap rates while returning back.

Then comes the childrens’ education.Indian education system is so different from those abroad.Kids used to the western system of education find it difficult to adapt to the Indian system again.

Next is work permit related issues.Lot depends on the work contract signed by the employees when they go abroad.If the contract bars them from shifting jobs while abroad,they don’t have a choice but they have to stick to the current job,come what may.Some people bring their spouse along,hoping that they might gain employment.It doesn’t materialize often.

Once abroad,you tend to lose touch with family and friends back home.Of course,watsapp and Facebook have ensured that such connections survive.But it cannot compensate for daily face to face interactions.Perhaps you can maintain ties with immediate family and your closest pal.But not beyond that.For some people, long distance relationships just don’t work.It requires lot of effort to maintain long distance friendships and some people just cannot find time or patience for doing that.The differing time zones add to their woes.

There is a perception that you can shine only if you go abroad.It is true partly because many MNCs are based abroad.It depends on the scale of your ambitions.But I wouldn’t say that you will become rich only if you go abroad.No.It might help for making some quick money,considering the exchange rate differences.Having said that,I would like to emphasize that you can still succeed in India also.For example,do you think a struggling IT guy working abroad is better placed than Narayanamurthy,Infosys founder?. Definitely not.
Not all Indians abroad can become Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai.I am sure both of them would have become big shots even if they had opted to stay back in India.

So my dear friends,I would suggest that go abroad if you must and if you really want to.Dont do so because somebody else went.Work hard with sincerity wherever you are.You will surely shine.

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