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Go abroad, but look after your roots

Nupur Dave (nupurdave.in)

Indian students have unrealistic expectations about America. They think they will make a lot of money, date girls, and take selfies at Grand Canyon. This could be true, you WILL get to do all this. You have seen your seniors do it. But what you don't get to see is their struggles, and it's my job to make Indians aware of the repercussions of whatever they decide-- if it's moving to America or moving back from America.

The most innocent theme students (or young office goers) have is "I just want to go for a few years and come back". No. No. No. No. You don't just go there and come back so easily. Why?

America is a great place to be, you can run on the road, take dance classes, go for band practice, eat Mexican cuisine for lunch and Thai for dinner, all in a matter of 24 hours. Workwise, you can expect a certain distance from people where they won't put their arm around your shoulder and in a few years you will learn to say "thank you" and "appreciate it" like the local culture expects you to.

All this takes effort: slogging as a student with odd jobs, finding a job and getting rejected because you're an Indian citizen, getting a job finally and holding your breath for H1B approval. Then the home finding, car buying, and filing paperwork, this is not fun by any means but it takes so much time that you will dig deep and grow roots in the country. You will settle down not because you love it, but because you worked hard for it, and loving it is a byproduct or a nice to have glue that keeps you in place. Then it becomes very hard to break those roots & there is a high chance you might not want to come back after you have built up assets so carefully, with your own hands-- your own emotions, tears, and fortitude.

So what is the right way to look at it? Help India From Abroad. If you are looking to move abroad, always aim to help the Indian economy. For example, you could hire students in India. Post a request in your college and pay students to help build your website. Make sure you give women a chance-- just because someone is soft-spoken doesn't mean they can't do the work.

Live Well: Many Indians, especially those with middle-class roots, have a savings attitude towards money. Once they start earning, they still hesitate to spend. While this seems ok, it brings a lot of sub-optimal choices, and awkward social situations (like going to dinner with friends and not paying the full amount because someone ordered an expensive drink).

Remember, Family is Everything

I personally have helped many Indians in their confusion to move to America or move back to India. The greatest theme is-- family. The best place to be on earth is where family is. But perhaps some people will value family only after leaving them, and sometimes moving away from home is a great learning experience. Just remember the hands that brought you up.

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