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From Poland to India: No Problem in India

11 December, 2017 08:52  Erin Erin

Renata no problem India My name is Renata, I grew up in Poland, almost 6000 km away from the place where I live now. Since 2013 I’m based in India, the country of colors, contrasts and never ending chaos, the place where I fell in love and settled with my bi-cultural family. I am an engineer by education, translator by profession, blogger by passion (noprobleminindia.com) and a happy full time mom by heart.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
I am the Erasmus, multicultural, ready to go and ready to relocate anywhere generation. Passion for travelling, discovering new cultures started by exploring Schengen countries (easy to do for a budget trips) first as a tourist, then as a young post graduate professional searching for a job in Europe took me unexpectedly to… Asia. I got an internship in India (in Chennai) and then, even more unexpectedly I ended up marrying an Indian man and settling down in India.

2.    How do you make a living?
I have cross-cultural experience in Human Resources (allocation, recruitment, talent management) with event and project management roles as well. Currently, I work as a polish language specialist - translator in one of the Indian service based corporation.

3.    How often do you communicate with home and how?
As soon as the electricity is there! That may seem funny but I am limited from contacting my family only due to power cuts in India. Internet, facebook, skype are pretty simple tools that help me staying in touch with my family, friends and relatives.

4.    What's your favorite thing about being an expat in India?
The food, the people and the nature. India is a beautiful country, with so many things to discover. I enjoy being part of this day-to-day chaotic rollercoaster, trying to find balance between slow-eco living dream and mostly a fast paced digitally oriented society where ancient culture that crosses modern demands.

5.    What’s the worst thing about being an expat in India?
Having worked previously in Europe (Poland, France, Czech Republic and Germany)— and now as a salaried person working in India I see there is no much freedom for your work life balance here. Tight working hours and heavy traffic / transportation make you stay away from home for 10-11 hours per day. Working full time in India means for me at least 47.5 hours a week, four hours more than the global average. Plus round way transportation time.

There is also not much fun for women here in India. It slowly changes, however if you are white, even more so if you are single you may find many prejudices around you.

6.    What do you miss most?
I truly miss being anonymous. I miss silent walk in the park, sitting in the bench and staring at nowhere not being accused of flirting because I just smiled to someone. I miss simple human unconditional kindness and lack of prejudices about foreigners in India.

7.    What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
As I get older I understood it is much more difficult to make friends when you are an outsider or if you have a stay end date included (visas… ). I believe in integration by action for purpose and as I am an active person I usually choose sport / volunteering activities to get into the locals. Running, trekking and cooking makes me feel more open especially in the beginning.

8.    What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Till now it’s difficult for me to understand Indian arrange marriages tradition. From one side I see it’s a good option for shy people but on the other side the initial demands, criteria, dowry system scares me that such beautiful moment as marriage in our lives goes into business, money and politics…

9.    What is a myth about your adopted country?
Travelling is dangerous. I met many misconceptions about trips in India and in some way I can understand that strong roots of patriarchal society culture give a shocking feeling that, especially for solo women travelers, one might not feel comfortable and safe. It’s obviously changing nowadays, women are more independent especially in cities but the full approach change may happen in few generations’ time. India is similar country to travel as any other. Common sense and moderation is advised everywhere.

10.    Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Much much lower! but that all depends on us how we spend money. Being extremely rich and staying in cheap currency country does not mean we would have lots of money. More money triggers will for more expenses.
My life did not change much after shifting to India, I still eat homemade food, travel with low budget and do not put much attention on material things and money. I am more into collecting experiences than valuables. Overall, it goes to zero. Saving money and daily living is balanced with cost of flight tickets home.

11.    What advice would you give other expats?
Always make the time and effort to learn about your host country, its culture, the language beforehand. Getting little local help in breaking the ice and settling down peacefully. Be open minded and take the culture differences with patience, smile and curiosity. Being an expat is not easy all the time, but the experience is rewarding.

12.    When and why did you start your blog? Renata no problem India
I believe that even in country full of contradictions, fast pace of life, sometimes daily rat race we can find our niche for slow and eco-friendly life. That is what I want to pass through my blog (www.noprobleminindia.com). I started writing it in April 2017 I truly find happiness in it, especially when people get back to me with a “thank you” words for sharing my experience!

Blog LinkRenata's blog, No Problem in India

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