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Moving to Chennai From US

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chit Chat' started by Neesha, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Neesha

    Neesha New Member

    I am moving to Chennai from the US with my husband. My husband was born and brought up in Chennai whereas I was born and brought up in the US. I have been to India before but not Chennai, and I think going there for a holiday is somewhat different than living there.
    I agree every place has its pros and cons, but me thinking about the fact of moving to Chennai is scaring me a bit. I can ask my husband this question but for him Chennai is home and his views will be different from mine, and I don't think he would be able to understand my point of view.
    I would like someone who has been in my place to give me an idea of what the whole moving would be like.

    What can I expect?

    What's the worse I can feel about the move?

    What are the plus side points of moving to Chennai from the US?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Neesha! Welcome to the forum!

    Chennai is known as the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the most progressive cities, not only in the state, but also in the country. But despite being a highly progressive city, the city has done well to preserve its culture and heritage. The presence of greenery, in the form of parks and gardens, add to the beauty of the city, which is quite hard to find in metro cities nowadays. Of course, the unending beaches, with Marina Beach, which has the second longest coastline in the world, are added attractions to the city. But really, what is it like living in Chennai? And how would a foreigner, especially from the USA, do well in living in the city?

    What you should expect when living in Chennai?

    1. Climate - The climate in Chennai is hot and tropical almost all-year round. The good feature of the city is that it has no extreme variations in the climate, unlike Delhi, which has pretty extreme summers and winters. With Chennai, you can enjoy the warm climate all-year round. But if you come from a region where it's particularly cooler, you might find it harder to adapt. Summers in Chennai has temperatures ranging between 27°C to 36°C. But it can climb as high as 40°C to 45°C as well. Monsoons are typically humid and hot, with temperatures between 27°C to 35°C too. Rainfall is moderate to heavy in the region. Now, the last months are the winter season which have lower temperatures but not that extreme. Temperatures are between 21°C to 31°C so very bearable. But yes, an air-conditioner might be necessary if you're not used to such hot climates. As the locals say, there are three seasons in Chennai: hot, hotter and hottest. Funny, but true and this can actually help you prepare for the intense heat of the city.
    • Note - Be prepared to buy an air-conditioner when in Chennai and being locked up in your room all day during the summer as the city heat becomes too intense for you.
    2. People/Locals - There's this notion that you have to understand or learn Tamil to be able to survive in Chennai. But really, the locals in Chennai are quite receptive and helpful. Although they don't speak much Hindi, they can understand it and if all else fails, they do understand and speak English. So if ever you don't know how to speak Tamil, just speak in English and people would be grateful to assist you with your needs. On the other hand, when it comes to the characteristics of the people in Chennai, perhaps the best description for them would be warm. They are genuinely as warm as their climate, to tourists and to non-locals. All you need to do is respect their language and culture and they would give the same respect for you. People in Chennai are also very humble and hardworking, it's rare to see a person bragging about their occupation or assets in life. And Chennai also puts a great importance on feminism and it's not rare to find women working here for themselves or their families.
    • Note - Do learn a few Tamil words or phrases to put a smile on the faces of the Chennaites. But yes, conversing in English will do work most of the time.
    3. Local Cuisine - When it comes to food, you get a bit of everything in Chennai. There are over 5,000 restaurants and eateries in Chennai, not including the street food stalls yet. So you definitely have a lot of choices when in the city. And no, they're not just South Indian cuisine, but a variety of international and regional cuisines. But of course, nothing beats Chennai cuisine when it comes to idlis, dosas and sambars. If ever you go to a restaurant serving the meals on a banana leaf, they do so not just because of tradition but also it has health benefits. Supposed to be, the banana leaf removes the toxins from food. And once you're accustomed to the local cuisine, why not indulge in street food as well? You're sure to have your tummy filled for affordable prices.
    • Note - Try out Karthick Tiffins and House of Dosas, home to best dosas in the city, yet they have very affordable prices, yum!
    Dosa in Chennai Restaurant

    4. Cost of Living - Chennai is certainly not the cheapest place to live in but considering it's a metro city, its cost of living is comparatively lower than other metro cities. Even public transport here is relatively cheaper than other metro cities. Rent costs depend on the type of apartment or house, of course, the smaller it is, the lower the price. Food though is quite affordable and you won't need to shell out much to have healthy meals. And yes, entertainment-wise, Chennai has the cheapest movie ticket rates too, not exceeding Rs. 120 per person for a movie. Perhaps the only expense you'd need to pay higher for would be electricity, when you're utilising your air-conditioner more than necessary due to the heat of the city. Other than that, Chennai is pretty affordable for mid-range earners or those coming from other countries.
    • Costs - A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs Rs. 12,000 per month and if outside the city centre, it costs Rs. 7,000 per month. Food budget per month should be around Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 9,000. Internet should cost around Rs. 1,300 per month for an unlimited data plan. Other utility bills can amount to Rs. 2,000 and above, depending on electricity and water usage.
    5. Transportation - If you're getting your own car, roads in Chennai are wide and smooth. That's one of the good sides of the city as compared to other metro cities. Of course, it's not devoid of the dreaded traffic though so you need to plan your trips accordingly. If ever you're going to be relying on public transport, there are trains, buses, cabs and auto rickshaws. Trains are your best option as they have air-conditioning and are more comfortable especially for longer travels. Buses are good for short-distance travels but they can get stuck in traffic making your schedules a bit delayed at times. Cabs are good and comfortable but be sure to negotiate a price beforehand. Auto rickshaws can be quite troublesome, especially for foreigners, as they are known to charge much higher than the normal fares.
    • Note - Opt for trains or buses as much as possible and avoid auto rickshaws especially while you're new at the city.
    Train in Chennai

    6. Attractions/Entertainment - Chennai is such a vast city with plenty of places to see and explore. For starters, the city has a number of beaches that you can enjoy with your loved one. There's the Marina Beach, which was mentioned already, although swimming isn't permitted here, you can enjoy dining in one of the restaurants near the shore. Or maybe indulging in horse riding too. Another one is the Besant Nagar Beach, which is a bit more secluded than the former beach. Excursions out of the city centre can take you to further beaches like the Breezy Beach and Covelong Beach. If you like historical places, there's first British fortress in India, known as Fort Saint George in Chennai. Another must visit historical place here is the Vivekananda House, where you can learn more about one of the most influential people in India, Swami Vivekananda. If you like wildlife, there are places for that as well in the city like the Madras Crocodile Bank, Arignar Anna Zoological Park and Guindy National Park. Museums are also plenty in the city but the must-visit ones are the Railway Museum and the Dakshinachitra Museum. There are also plenty of places teeming with greenery that you can visit outside of the city, like Mahabalipuram, Muttukadu and Pulicat. Being a progressive city, the city also has plenty of movie and shopping complexes that you can explore.
    • Note - Visit these other threads for more information about the attractions in Chennai.
    Marine Beach in Chennai

    I hope these points have helped lighten up what you're feeling about Chennai. Overall, Chennai is a good city to live in, it's safe and modern. It does grow on you and you might get overwhelmed the first time you move in the city. But adapting here is not that hard, as evidenced by the numerous expats who have chosen Chennai as their city to live in. If ever these points haven't still convinced you, read on and find out what makes Chennai stand out as a city.

    What are the plus sides of moving to Chennai from the USA?

    1. Lower Cost of Living - As compared to the USA, the cost of living in Chennai is comparatively lower. You can certainly stretch your dollar here or even your rupees. But even with that, you're not deprived of the modernities of life because you can still have internet and cable if you'd like. Being a progressive city, Chennai has almost all the things you were accustomed with when in the USA. What does not come with that is the hefty price tags of things as you're not utilising the dollar here but rather the rupees. If ever your budget is on the lower side, you can opt for a nice street food stall instead of a restaurant. Or if you'd like to enjoy your weekend but doesn't have the money, you can go to the beach without any cost at all.
    • Note - Enjoy life without breaking the bank.;p
    2. Exposure to Different Cultures - Chennai is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. On one part, you get the temples which give you a glimpse of the rich religion of the city. On the other part, there are the British structures still evident on the city which you can visit. Of course, you can also enjoy the rich modern culture of the city, that is of Tollywood, the very own Bollywood of South India. There are also regular classical Indian dance and music shows presented in the numerous cultural centres in the city. This blending of the modern and classical cultures of the city opens your eyes to the rich heritage of Chennai.
    • Note - Do visit the Chennai Trade Centre for regular cultural and social shows.
    3. Safety - Chennai is one of the safest metro cities in India. Incidents of rape, kidnapping or robbery are rare here and you'd find that the locals are quite respectful and conservative too. Whereas the metro cities in the country has frequent issues with violent crimes, there are only a few cases in the city of Chennai. You can safely go out at night as the streets are filled with other locals too. But of course, always exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.
    • Note - Although it's relatively safe to venture out at night here, it's still best to have someone with you when doing so.
    4. Employment Opportunities - There are plenty of job opportunities in Chennai. Of course the main ones being related to the IT sector and automobile sector. But chances are, if you graduated from a good school, you can find jobs related to your course. Salary here is also quite competitive and comparable with other metro cities like Bangalore and Delhi. You would also find that Chennai is also emerging as a hub for startups which is another good industry to be in right now.
    • Note - Some of the most popular startups from Chennai are Humble Paper and Magic Kart.
    Infosys Building in Chennai

    5. Best Medical Facilities - Chennai is home to the best medical facilities in the country. Did you know that about 40% of the medical tourists in the country go to Chennai? This statistic alone provides one with evidence that the quality of health care here is quite high and top-notch. There are over a thousand hospitals, both private and public, in Chennai providing the locals and tourists with above-average services. The first ever medical institution in the country is also located here, the Government General Hospital. The Adyar Cancer Insitute in Chennai is also certified by the World Health Organisation as the best cancer treatment centre in the country.
    • Note - Do get medical insurance when living in Chennai for more affordable health care rates.
    So did these facts convince you enough to move to Chennai? There are a hundred more reasons to love the city of Chennai and I'm sure that once you are there, the city would grow on you. Give it time and you would learn to love it, much like the numerous other expats living in the city. Good luck and I hope you're feeling much better!