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Pros and Cons of Living in India

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Allianz Care International Health Insurance

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in India.

What are the pros and cons of living in India?

Live in India? Answer this Question

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in India responded:

"Pondicherry is a wonderful city.. you can do as much or as little as you like.. the French institute offers activities and social events and the city is easy to get around.. White Town is the nicer area to live and many home and apartments have a sea view.. keep in mind it is very hot and humid in their summers.," remarked another expat in Pondicherry.

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What do expats in India appreciate most about the local culture?

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"Delivery service for everything. My dog got sick and a vet came to the house. I order almost all my groceries. With the help of my Indian friends, I got a cook and maid at current rates instead of expat rates. My Mumbai dentist has equipment better than my dentist did at home. Once I figured out how to get around, I now ride rickshaws everywhere," explained one expat living in Mumbai.

"There is a cheerful religious freedom that I have never seen anywhere else - Sikh gudwaras next to Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples, Christian churches, Hindu temples. The variety of food, particularly vegetable-based, is great: even if you're not vegetarian, it's worth trying and usually tastes better than the meat dishes," said another expat in Mussoorie.

"Shopping at the smaller shops is fun. Mostly prices are marked and we often go with friends who also make sure we don't get unduly ripped off. We food shop at a variety of places. If we are hungry for some home-style food then high priced supermarkets that cater for expats have to be used. Mostly, we use the smaller supermarkets that locals use (often with helpful tips from neighbors who tell us what time fresh veg is delivered so we can time our visits. We also often buy from markets and street vendors. Naturally, we wash the produce thoroughly. We always buy flowers from street stalls. We find that quality and life of the flowers is invariably better than from the supermarket back home. The people are mostly very friendly and also openly curious. That's different to westerners but also enjoyable," added another person living in Pune.

"The food. The food. The food. The amazing things you can get in the markets/shops from scarves to carvings to jewelry. People are very friendly if you smile when asking for help. My friends who helped us adjust that became the closest we've ever had. Oh, and Bollywood. Its absurdity/dancing is just a lot of fun and I bought a few movies and will keep up with the celebrities," explained one expat living in Mumbai.

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in India? Answer this Question

"Indians aim to please...my husband. My husband's British accent is easier to understand than my Texas accent so I have to be a bit in their face. India is a cash society and don't accept credit cards readily so we had a bit of cash flow issues at first. Being fashionable 30 minutes to hour late to an event is expected," remarked another expat in Mumbai.

"I work from home and this helps. I do miss being part of a small community and family," explained one expat living in Mumbai.

"The status of women - despite equality being spoken about, it's clearly not reached everywhere and every strata of the society. I've been harassed in Delhi and here in Mussoorie, and the fact that as a white woman I'm stereotyped, and thus don't feel safe walking alone, is awkward. Wearing local clothes and speaking some Hindi helps, but not always enough," said another expat in Mussoorie.

"Language. Having to plan quite carefully for evenings and weekends. We (and most expats) have a driver and once he has gone home we are restricted to the local neighborhood. We are fortunate insofar as a lot of restaurants and shops are within walking distance but we have colleagues who are pretty isolated once their driver goes home. We miss being able to be spontaneous and just go for a drive later in the day, or just go to a restaurant the other side of town or have an evening drive to the hills to watch the sunset. We miss that quite a lot," added another person living in Pune.

"Traffic, pollution, food quality if you eat western style (forget pork, cheese and beef unless you're prepared to pay a fortune at a quality places like Sante's in Bandra, or the 5star hotel delis). Beef anywhere else is buffalo, pork is....not good. Cheese barely exists past the (fantastic) paneer. Maybe you can get cheddar, but not much else," explained one expat living in Mumbai.

"how cheap it is, lack of respect for others, extreme inefficiencies, lack of cleanliness," said another in Mumbai.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Help others in India by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in India.

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

India GuideIndia Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in India.

India Forum India Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in India on our India forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

India Index India Index
An index of all of our site's India information.

Contribute to India Network Contribute
Help others in India by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in India.

Expat Healthcare Advice in IndiaHealthcare & Health Insurance in India

Expats in India offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in India.

Expat Talk about Healthcare Advice in IndiaMembers Talk about Healthcare & Health Insurance in India

Expats in India offer advice about healthcare in India.

Real Estate in IndiaReal Estate in India

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in India.

Guide to Real Estate in IndiaGuide to Real Estate in India

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in India.

Pros Cons of Living in IndiaPros & Cons of Living in India

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in India.

Cost of Living in IndiaCost of Living in India

Digital Nomads & Expats offer insight into the cost of living in India.

Moving-to-IndiaMoving to India

Moving to India? We've compiled a laundry list of advice from expats living in India about what to bring, apartments, expat life and more. It's must-read guide for anyone researching how to move to India.

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