Series: Settle in US or India? Life in USA vs. India? Move back?

Life in US vs Life in India

by Kumar · 147 comments

If you were to ask any Indian or international living in US, this is probably the most thought or discussed question: “Settle in US or go back home?”  There are similar thoughts for people in India or any other country too. I lived in India and US for quite some time, so I can share my thoughts on both of them. Some of the common questions everyone encounter are :

  • Life in USA vs. Life in India ?
  • When should I leave US and go back home ?
  • Is it good to settle in US or return home country India ?

I can keep on writing the questions. In fact, one of our readers requested to share my thoughts on this topic..their logic is, if you are an IT person, you can choose to settle wherever you want to either US or India…you just have to make a decision….I think it makes logical sense…

Anyways, I plan to write a series of articles corresponding to this question. My goal behind the series is to give my perspective and let you make an educated and logical decision… All the below list of topics will be written comparing America vs. India.

Topics Comparing USA vs. India

As of now, these are the topics that I can think of…I will keep adding topics as I get to my mind….I plan to write from one of these topics every alternate day (not necessarily in sequence) in addition to regular articles that I write ….

If you are looking for a specific topic that’s not in the above list and you want that to be part of the series, you can leave a comment and I will add it to the list.

Stay tuned folks!

{ 147 comments… read them below or add one }

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Jim July 21, 2014 at 9:05 am

I have worked with and managed Indian I T workers for many years. I have yet to meet a single one who ever delivered a product on time, to any acceptable level of quality or to budget. They will commit to these actions at the beginning, but very soon the excuses start to hedge in. If they sense they are not going to be able to duck at the last moment, they start looking for other jobs. Having said that, they are pleasant enough to talk to. I also notice their command of the English Language suddenly disappears when they are under pressure to perform. We should stop them from coming to the USA until they have sorted out their own country. Canada, UK, parts of the USA are ruined.

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Sanjay July 21, 2014 at 9:37 am

That is your experience. And one opinion. A huge amount of work is done by Indians in USA. Most of the bosses are Americans who have targets to meet. It boils down to your ability to get teams to meet targets. Just complaining of a personality here and there will not let you achieve your target set by your company.

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Sudipta Sen July 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Well Jim, I would say here that what you have mentioned here may be strictly your personal experience which you can’t consider in a generic way. It live unto the world of assumption. For your information India is the biggest IT exporter in this world. I believe world have tried every possible option to find out a good IT partner and they decided to go with Indian IT company.
It is a true fact that India is a developing nation. You can love/hate but can’t ignore.
I believe you should explore more in IT industry to see the real picture.

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Nishanth July 10, 2014 at 5:18 am

#Why many brilliant brains of India are being migrated to foreign contries every year?
#What is wrong with India and what is good with countries like USA and all?
#Does india lacks a good education system? If it is, can’t we change the system?
#Why cant we create employment oppurtunities here in india?
#Aren’t we having good resorces to make our country self-sufficient?
#Are there no possibilities of establishing industries in India?
#Are we not responsible for our political system on which we always blame on for leaving India?
.
.
.
Many questions…

*We have all the answers, but most of us are not willing to take the test. We grow up and acquire our knowledge here. Then we go to foreign countries to serve them, we make them rich, richer and richest. We feel like we are getting rich by earning dollars, but the fact is we are making a huge loss to our nation. ASSOCHAM estimated that the hundreds of thousands of Indian students now studying abroad cost India as much as US $17 billion a year in lost revenue. According to an estimation, India loses $2 billion a year because of emigration of computer experts to USA. Developed countries attracting the citizens of developing countries by high salaries and using their skills for themselves. The USA remains the most popular destination for Indian students and is still perceived to provide the most prestigious and valuable credentials of all study abroad destinations. The US still attracts more than half of all Indian students going abroad to study. Most of them rely on scholarships or other financial assistance to fund their education, but the study notes that many Indian students pursuing degrees abroad are taking on heavy financial burdens and debt to do so. Not just USA, our indians go to serve many other countries like Saudi, London, Dubai, Canada, Australlia, Germany and many other.

*Though there is corruption in India, leaving the country for selfish benefits will not make the condition better. If we have the right to complain, then it is we who must do to rectify the problems. If our own home is dirty, we don’t go and live in other people’s houses. Do we? Instead, we try to make our own home clean. Staying in this country and utilising the skills that we’ve obtained from this country is the only way one can achieve satisfaction and also contribute to our country’s growth. If the value of rupee is fast falling, then it is we who must work so that it reaches at level with dollar. Becoming rich by converting dollars to rupees shows selfish motives. If we are born Indian, then we ought to serve India. We owe each and every molecule of ourselves to this country. When we’ve come of age to serve this country, we try to run away. Why? Hasn’t this country done enough for us? Now, we must do something for it.

*Indians must utilize their knowledge and skills for India to make our India as developed country. India has the 2nd largest pool of doctors, engineers and scientists but unfortunately they work for other countries! Half of the electronic & software industry and more than 30% of the medical field of USA is dependent on Indian born engineers and doctors. India is more talented than any other countries and you will get proof about it if you have a good knowledge about Indian history. If all Indians utilize their skills for India, India will be the top most developed country in the total world. Because India has much skilled manpower. We are born in INDIA, our nation made us. I wish every one to to show gratitude towards our nation. I’m not pitting against achieving higher education in abroad, but after completing education one must return back to India. But most of the emigrant intellectuals refuse to return. If we do not change this trend now, the rich nations will always be rich and India will be poor like always.

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EC June 17, 2014 at 10:04 am

I wanted to come back to India, and got my first whiff of familiar the Indian HR God-forsaken attitude. Called up a well known MNC HR through her own appointment. She had the weirdest way to show her upper hand. After conversing for a few minutes she said “Oh let me find out internally, whether there is an opening”. I said very well, talk to you later.
The entire appointment was set up, on the premise of an opening with me getting a referral. With this I was very well encouraged to stay back. One thing I found while I was in India, that whenever a person has the feeling of power, he/she always tends to throw the other under the bus.

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kamson April 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm

the only problem with india is people’s attitude towards other fellow being. India is a country that speaks more than 200 languages, it has diverse cultures, traditions, beliefs, and different races. These points led to disunity among the people because of their differences in appearance, skin colour, poorer ecönomic background unlike US. These attitude still prevail in india’s society that cannot bring India a better place to live in to US. It’s wholly with the attitude of the people that can bring change to India regarding to the way living, communicating, unaggressive behaviour, etc. Only few, a handful of them possess those qualities.

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usha April 9, 2014 at 12:21 am

Mr. RR,
You have said that you were forced to go back to India due to health issues! And then you go on to say how unclean and unhygenic India is!! If you are not keeping good health, why move to a “dirty” India and ruin your health further? Why not stay in the “clean” US and get treatment?

You just want to get everything from India (probably inexpensive medical treatment and relatives to take care of you, etc.) whereas in the US, you cannot even talk to a doctor without medical insurance!! How selfish! You have been in the US only for 5 years and already forgotten your motherland! Very bad attitude!

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shankar April 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I agree. I have also replied to him below with my thoughts. We should not crib about our motherland instead change ourselves and try to change at-least one in family to follow good things . He should also realize that he got educated in India only and came to USA. Guys like him will put down India with their negative comments and that made others who are in dilemma to think very bad about India though they belong to our mother land and talk bad .

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RR February 18, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Well, I was in US for 5+ years and was forced to return back to India for some health reasons. Now its been 3+ years I’m in India now. The ONE and ONLY comment I could say about India is: “INDIA SUCKSSSS BIG TIME!!!!!!”

US is much much more healthy, clean, safe, courteous, disciplined than India. Goes without saying that India is unhealthy, unclean & dirty, rude public and absolutely no discipline within people. This is not a generic or a loose comment about India. These are things I face day-to-day, moment-to-moment.

Let me start with some basics…. When its a rainy day, India STINCKS!!! All the drainage is out on the road leaking and overflowing. And school children walk on that drainage. See the Health status! Just sucks!! Sick dogs have no place to go in rain. They drink the drainage water and they too walk allong with the children.

On any season, the garbage cans are full & there will be filth all over that. Instead of putting the garbage in the bin, people (INDIANS!!) put it (just throw it) outside the garbage can. And that garbage gets eaten by cows. And these cows disrupt the traffic and turns the garbage can upside down, making the whole area un-inhabitable, yet people just live with out having any pains seeing these unfortunate sights. “Chaltha Hai” is the only attitude they have. No one bothers to clean anything in India. And if you do, you look like a FOOL!

No body obeys traffic. Its known fact that there is NO lane system.

There is absoluetly no planning done by the people in Power (Governments). See the traffic condition and yet millions of vehicles get sold without even considering what will be the plight of the traffic. WHO CARES ??!!

Highways are improving in India…. some people say. Its another bull-shit. Cattle, people, dogs walk freely on the highway, making it completely unsafe for speeding. I met with an accident because a dog jumped in between and I applied sudden brake and I was hit by a bus and a car. Thankfully it was not fatal!

People shout at you using abusive language in traffics. There is no patience and are rude. People ride autos and bikes on pedestrain path ways.

There will be unattended electric wires lying down the road, making it a huge possibility for electrocution if somebody stamps on it!

People say they have good time with relatives. Its another non-sense. In reality the relatives actually does back-biting, back-stabbing. They have no jobs but to sit and comment on people and criticize others. Family problems mount in India. In-Laws do not accept daughter-in-law’s outlook. Its all a status game with relatives and bloody family politics.

Politicians conduct public meetings blocking all the main roads.

These are not some generic comments, but things I realize and suffer on a daily basis in India.

In India you are an Indian Citizen. (By the way I have no pride in that!). But in US, you are a Global citizen.

Children grow-up in US, with much broader outlook. Really see things and respond to problems. In India, children are taught to adjust and live, even if thats a grave crime that somebody is doing.

Children are taught to pass urine on the roads. And children see people passing SHIT on the beaches. Visit Chennai beaches at 7 AM in the morning and you will see the truth yourself.

I want to give my kid a better life. India cannot give that to my kid. Only US can. (He is a US citizen).

I can keep writing on this topic for ages and pages. But I will restrict myself due to time limits.

I’m having my H1-B done this year. I desparately DESPARATELY want to return back to US and will never come back to India.

The only good thing that I’m carrying with me from India is the Spiritual Values it has. I’m a born Hindu and Hinduism has taught me tolerance and acceptance of other religions, great personal values and a bigger outlook.

So I’m proud to be a HINDU but I regret being an INDIAN.

India is an under-developed, sluggish, lazy country boasting and trying compete with the mighty US. INDIA can no way reach to the level of US at any time. US is GLORIOUS in so many ways.

US too has problems. But they are exceptions. In India problems are main-stream. Problem is life in India.

This is not just a post. This is an outpouring from my heart with pain and agony.

People, please take a wide decision after reading this.

Inspite of all the ramblings above, I still would love to contribute to India, but NOT being in India. But being in US.

India is a country to be pitied and not glorified !!!

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MKG February 19, 2014 at 11:40 am

Dear RR,

I can related to your feelings. I have experienced most of the things that you talk about, and have also experienced some other things. For example, I am married and I fear for me and my wife if she had to travel through trains in India. Occasional harassment by fellow passengers, uncontrolled begging, Hijras, vendors, etc. Sometimes, the vendors makes you love India, but if you put together everything, then it makes you sad. I never thought about global issues faced by a common man in India. I always think it from my point of view (just the way you did). I had trouble with the Landlords in Bangalore, had severe problems with stray dogs, was afraid of taking an auto rickshaw for the fear of possible fare related fight in the end. I was so sick and tired of the latter, that I never could really enjoy the ride. I had constant stomach upsets when I was in Bangalore. I was never completely healthy at any point of time, due to either indigestion or due to viral infection. I know that now based upon how healthy I have been after coming to USA. There are also positives: free education (I paid very little fees all the way till my Master in Engineering). I even got paid a stipend by the govt during my M.E. And there are of course other socio-political, administrative issues that plague India, and we all know those things. Many of these things are not there in USA.

I came to USA in 2009, been here since. US has its own problem but at a different level. There is of course a constant fear that you might get robbed at gunpoint (this threat is more real than most people think). If you don’t stay in West/East coast or South, or in a nice house or own a car, your friends and relatives somehow constantly remind you of the things you are missing by not doing what they are doing. This takes a toll on your mental health believe me, especially when the people who are doing this to you are your friends from childhood. I live in Midwest. The life is really great here. But, the constant reminders from friends how great the weather in California is and how many Indian people etc are there, makes you go crazy after a while. It goes in to your head and constantly stays there. Add to that the fact that you slogged real hard for many years to get admission to a great university in Midwest and nobody cares about that and only care about the quality of house and weather. I really like the rural feeling here and the snow, but no body cares about that. Also, do not forget the fact that like us many people from other countries, including those from India are also here. Some of them will behave the same bad way with you, perhaps with a milder aggression. If there are people from Europe or other slightly less developed countries, they will make fun of India in a way that will offend you deeply when you look back at it. But the expression is so subtle that you can claim racism charges. Also, I feel I am not smart enough or trained enough to get back to them with a retort. Same things happens with my wife.

But of course, the problems I am talking about are universal and will exists as long as human beings are alive. They will also compare for the sake of make themselves happy. I guess every society in the world has the problem. To end, RR, you can
quote Farid Zakaria of CNN what he said at a Harvard Commencement speech, “This country has its problems, but I would rather have America’s problems than most any other place in the world.” Here is the link: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/05/text-of-fareed-zakarias-commencement-address/

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Shankar February 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Hello RR,

Please do not regret that you are an Indian. That is so bad. Every country has issues and we really cannot compare or search a US in India. All that matters is huge population.

For example: In US you could see cars every where and less bikes. Whereas in India you could see many form of vehicles like two wheeler, three wheeler(autos, mini load van, share autos), vans (making office trips), cycle, lots of public transportation vehicles , lorry/trucks and with the amount of population we have we really cannot control much but really can improve on the infrastructure. I belong to Chennai and currently in US.

In Chennai you can confidently say that the infrastructure has improved a lot when you compare the same 10 years ago but the population has also increased to many folds and even migrants from other parts of India are also there. So where do you nail down the issue ? Its the construction workers not knowing discipline ? Is the so called IT guy throw up garbage in India and follow rules in USA ? .So change comes from within. If you follow rules while driving in India then you are changed, If you learn patience and use it in Indian then you are changed..Like that lets say guys who went to US and learn the good things and come back and apply that or otherwise called as change themselves…Then you could see a lot of change.

Tell me frankly how many of us got license properly by knowing all rules in India ? Its our driving class makes that happen ..So can we blame them to encourage corruption ? Its we ..Did we try to get license directly from RTO office ? Did we know all rules even though we got our license very easily ? its a BIG NO.

How many of us check housing documents when we buy a apartment or villa or etc ..? We just blindly book apartments. If we see/know which property is good in terms of documents then we would not have bought such houses and that is a good sign for builders to come down and do little bit good things..So the contribution to corruption/unaware of policies are even due to us you know. So lets first realize that India in improving and first let us change ourselves rather than complaining ?

Why do you think India cannot give a better life for you kid ? How did you come to US ? You got educated in India and did that right ? If your education is not good then you would not have come to the USA ? If you deny that then you came to USA before because of your luck ?

What do you think that all american corporates are hiring guys from IIT, Bit Pilani, and other reputed institutions ? So India in all means is good ..Atleast think that way and we should not expect an India like US in near future..It will take many decades and it don’t need to be like USA . So learn good things in whichever country you are (outside of India) and apply the same for yourself in India if you feel it is good.

Don’t crib.. Be Happy :)

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Gowtham March 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm

“Is the so called IT guy throw up garbage in India and follow rules in USA ? .So change comes from within. ”
I don’t think change comes from within. People in USA follow traffic rules because if you don’t you will pay $400 (Rs. 24,000) in tickets. Besides, you won’t even get a driver’s license unless you demonstrate ability to follow traffic rules. Same goes for garbage disposal.
Levy heavy fines in India to the tune of Rs. 20,000 per violation, and within 1 week I guarantee you people will start following rules.

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Shankar March 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Dear Gowtham,

Agreed to a certain extent and it is the law that is enforcing them to follow. However, if you could notice we (Indians) tend to break here in US too. For example, in our apartment there is a rule that we should not dump any furniture in garage and it should be paid and properly been discarded. I have literally seen myself that we dump stuff in the night when no one sees it . So how would you classify this ? Would there be a law needed here to watch throughout night. Another example is I am sure you would have noticed in temple in USA..Though the template authorities have put in a stand to arrange our footwear, how many of us actually arrange it there ? Do we expect a law here for this too ? I personally feel that along with the strict law that you told we also need to change ourselves too

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Shankar March 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Correction from garage to garbage dump yard.

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Gowtham March 22, 2014 at 12:36 pm

PS: My education in India sucks. I came to US inspite of the education. Not everyone in India come to US.

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Shankar March 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Dear Gowtham,

I disagree with this . Education in India is good too. Its we who do not apply it practically but here since it is highly practical we just follow this. We can debate for days on this but in general we do not learn it good because we know that there are good colleges in India but we tend to go only with understanding the theory and not thinking beyond that.

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AnonymousIndian March 22, 2014 at 7:12 am

Being also a returnee from the US, I perfectly agree with your statement, “India is a country to be pitied and not glorified !!!”. Actually the Indian attitude towards life and their understanding of life in general needs to be pitied. India is a beautiful country but Indians have still not become civilized!!

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DW July 5, 2014 at 5:33 am

Hmm, thank you RR for your honest comments and personal experience. I have been to India this year. I am pondering on the idea of moving there for retirement. You give much to consider.

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Prasanth February 12, 2014 at 12:47 am

Greatest challenge is move back to India with kids. It was filled with turmoil and guilt as we felt we were uprooting them from their only known environment.

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HP June 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

At least you felt that way. Yes, you’d be taking them away from their country.

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lal January 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm

can some one comment on up bringing of children in american culture in the USA if we decide to settle here?

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Gowtham March 22, 2014 at 1:23 pm

My cousins who grew up in the USA learnt a lot of Indian classical dance and music. They are pretty well-educated and are able to communicate very well. They look far healthier than any average Indian.

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Sanju April 23, 2014 at 5:58 am

If you want the blacks and Hispanics and Whites to hit on (date) your kids and try to date them and vice versa……..vs only Indians from your culture….it is shocking and not at all acceptable.
Raising kids to listen to their parents in a US attitude of “Question Authority” and the drug and pot culture and also the hook up culture on US Campusses is also a wake up call to Indians and all Asians.
You have to monitor your kids very well over here.

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akshay December 7, 2013 at 8:36 am

Thnks ravi for ur feedback m glad to hear frm u bt m persuing bbm frm mumbai so it wont b possible for me to opt a engineerng course n i hv gone through few of the college fee structure for mba ..yap they r more costly as compare to india …bt wont it b good to hv a dgree frm u.s n afta few years of service out there scope for job in india wl b betta…wat if i wl apply for education loan wont it wl b helpful …do reply.

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Ravi December 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Hi,

I would say for an NRI the decision of coming back to India is very important. I am an Engineer & so is my brother, I work in India & my younger brother is in US . The growth he has done there is almost impossible for me. He earns more than my boss!!. He bought an Audi A4 when he was a student and I am struggling with my i20 emi’s.

I would say for an NRI who have worked for 5-10 years in US as a skilled worker (engineer, analyst etc.). They should just save up there and come back in India. I think you will have sufficent money in your pocket to start up a business in India.

You can do a job in India. But Indian jobs are no way comparable to US. The quality of work and payout is really bad. Infact it will take you a life time here to earn the amount of money you made in 5 years in USA.

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Akshay November 25, 2013 at 6:09 am

Hey everyone ,I read the comments n found them reli helpfull to know mch more about the u.s culture and life out there…m 19 n perusing my graduation frm Mumbai n hv planned and dreamt of goin for ma m.b.a degree frm u.s…I hv been thinking of goin for GMAT …all I wanna knw is tht afta getting admission out there u.s wl it b easy for me to find a on campus job out there…as my parents can’t afford much of money…and rite knw I dnt evn hv a idea how to apply for visa n al this formalities…I dnt hv any idea abt this h1b or h4 vis a wat exactly tht means…so I request someone to clarify me abt al ths doubts…as frm past few months I hv strtd reading abt u.s…this is my dream to b in u.s n I wl getting it true anyhow…n wl b coming back to India afta few years of service in u.s…

Kindly write back I wl glad
Thanks

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Ravi December 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm

@Akshay, Brother I had same doubt as you. I would say doing an MBA from USA is not lucrative option since its costly and it will be very difficult for you (being new to America) to get a job in management field in USA.

You can better opt for Engineering field it has more job opportunities and the course fees is compartively lower. The earning are also decent.

If you still want to go for an MBA, better get that degree in India.

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Bhavik December 22, 2013 at 1:39 am

I think if you are really keen on doing MBA in US, go for it. Also keep in mind, the amount you are going to put in and plan how do you earn it back. Also as a suggestion, look for an MBA in other countries like Singapore, Canada – they are bit cheaper than US and have better job prospects.

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