We’ve all heard it before. Maybe versions have been different over the years. Your friends want to come to the US to study or make money, but dream to settle back in India, but various forces keep them in the US.
1990s – early 2000s:
Declaration: “I’ll just go to the US, study, earn my degree, work a little bit, then come back and settle in India.”
Said by: early 20 somethings, single, mostly males
2000s – today:
Declaration: “I’ll go onsite for two years, save some money, then settle back in India.”
Translation for Americans: A single guy is coming onsite, but will leave the US ready to enter his arranged marriage, and then return to India to live there permanently.
Said by: mid 20 somethings up until age 30ish or before they get married
Declaration: “I’ll just go onsite for a few months or years. My family will join me and get the experience of living in the US. But, we will move back and live permanently in India.
Said by: married people. In most cases, men, but now a days there are women who get the [H1B] sponsorship before their husbands, too!
Declaration: “I’m studying abroad to New Zealand, Australia or Canada for a few years to get my MBA, maybe work for one year, get citizenship or permanent status, then come back to India.”
Said by: Married people, who also take their spouse and/or children with them. (These countries have more relaxed immigration standards than the US.)
Outcome: We shall see as this has been the newest trend over the past few years.
While some do hold true to this because of work assignment limitations or visa limitations, others find visa, green card and citizenship obstacles to be the sole reason they are ‘trapped in the US’. While some may dream to be trapped in the US, the real experience of this means ones misses out on family functions, utilizing property purchased in India, births of new family members, last days of others, and other milestones. The video below made in Tamil with English subtitles highlights the journey of Thiru and his dream of working onsite for two years and how that ended up in raising a family and settling permanently in the US.
Before showing the video, I’d like to share a few reflections I had while watching it in the order it appears in the video:
Jennifer Kumar, an American who was an expat in India for almost 10 years, is a cross-cultural business strategist helping Indians prepare for their onsite career and life adventures. Learn more here.
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