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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Mumbai, India

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No I did not.

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

I speak one that some people speak, but not Hindi. I am planning on learning basic Hindi, but may not have time.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No, but I am in extreme culture shock now.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Pretty bad. I cry a lot and wonder what I got myself into. I am opening up an office for my company in Mumbai. I'm 27, and feel very much out of place even though my parents were born in India and I have some family there.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

No. Never had the honeymoon phase, and I'm in the anger stage now.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

homesickness....have never experienced that. Eat and drink much less. Am more angry and frustrated....but India is a pretty frustrating place for Westerners.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

how cheap it is?

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

how cheap it is, lack of respect for others, extreme inefficiencies, lack of cleanliness

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

not really

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

It's rough. Much easier to come to a country with a significant other, so you can share the highs and lows together. Wish I did that. Think long and hard before you move somewhere. I'm sure in the end it will be a growing experience, but not so happy about it now.

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Comments about this Report

Dec 13, 2010 18:55

I'm so sorry that you are having so much trouble.. india is a big change. Your first error was getting there on the wrong mentality, be conscious of all the great things about india. over time you get used to that and start missing things back home. it happens with age as well as changing environments. try to looking forward not back. living with somebody is a whole different story. Try joining international groups and make friends that are experiencing the same thing. If the sun does not shine in clear skyes then start making arrangements to move back. 27 is not old enough to settle down but enough to at least be thinking about it... and by the look of things... you have no intention of accepting the culture transition.

May 11, 2011 09:34

I agree with this guy, I am in a same boat, I wanted to settle here with my family and unfortunately we are going back to canada, We have similar problems and yes people are so rude in India

Feb 7, 2012 17:43

I agree with this report. I am also a Person of Indian Origin from overseas. I did a try out as my company wanted me to relocate to India. What made me sick was the prejudice towards dark skin. Nearly all the tv adverts were for skin lightning products, and everytime we went to the malls my wife was constantly offered skin lightning products at the beauty counters just because she is dark skinned. I expected that in the villages but not in a supposedly international city like Mumbai. India is only good if you are Caucasion or fair skinned. I am glad I declined the relocation.

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