While I was most excited about my trip to Europe to explore different cultures and ways of living, little did I expect that it’d help me reconnect to my roots and appreciate where I come from too! But hey, that’s what I like about travel! The mysteries and unexpected ruminations that come along with it!
Here’s what I think are some of the advantages that we Indians have from my 3 months of travel in Europe
Language is probably one of the easiest advantages we possess. Indians are natural polyglots. Growing up, we are well versed with our mother tongue, English, Hindi (if not the mother tongue), at the least. And maybe watching other regional movies, we might learn a language or two.
This makes us versatile, and easier to learn new languages. And not to forget the kind of enunciations that we are used to, makes it easier to pick up words in a new language as well. This usually surprises the hell out of other foreign nationals. Case in point — In Estonia, my host’s friend introduced me to a guy named Severinas. I could pronounce his name right in the first go, and it shocked him. But I didn’t even put any effort which I’m sure is the case with the majority of Indians. As Indians, we are naturally adept at complex pronunciations.
Most of the European countries, or other parts of the world, aren’t too well versed in English as their local language is given priority. However in India, among the well-educated people, English is usually taught in schools. This makes us really good at it, that we can compete at a global level.
India is probably the most diverse country in the world. When it comes to landscapes we have lakes, rivers, waterfalls, seas, mountains, deserts, canyons, dense forests, wildlife that it might take a lifetime to just explore India. And it’s not just landscapes. Be it culture, religions, language, food, music, dance, art, it’s as diverse as it’s abundant.
Europeans are fascinated by Indian people and their culture. For them, it’s a spiritual land, full of colors teemed with enlightened people, one which they wish to explore in their lifetime.
The variety of food that’s available for us is probably unlike any other place in the world. The synchronous blend of spices, mouth-watering dishes probably is what makes most Indians difficult to adjust to foreign food.
29 states in India offer different options for food, and not to forget food from different regions within the same state could also vary. I dare say, it’s impossible to find that many varieties of food anywhere else in the world.
All my European hosts requested me to cook Indian food for them, unanimously. I fixed some Mushroom Butter Masala (Variation of Paneer Butter Masala) with my limited cooking experience, and they LOVED it. My host in Germany was surprised that I used his whole range of spices to cook food, while he only uses a couple of spices to make dishes. Well, that’s the way of life in India — the land of spices.
Thanks to a big tech community in India, I feel we are more exposed to the startup ecosystem thus have far more flexibility in that regard. UPI powered apps or apps like Dunzo or Swiggy isn’t available in the majority of Europe. This gives us a distinct advantage. And the tech community is pretty big in India too
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I remember once when I asked my colleague who lived in the US for years, of what she liked about Bangalore, she mentioned that the best part is the weather. I didn’t really understand it then, but it dawned on me on my recent trip to Europe.
While it’s fun to experience snow when traveling, it’s a whole different ballgame when living there. I remember seeing sunlight during winters, but not really feeling it on my skin in the middle of the day. And it was still freezing cold. Wearing layers of clothes, jackets, caps, gloves, and shawls, every time you go out can get frustrating really soon.
While not all parts of India enjoy good weather throughout the year, it’s still agreeable at most times.
Traveling to Europe definitely gave me a newfound respect for my Indian culture, and made me appreciate it more!
What did going abroad make you realize about your own culture? Let me know in the comments below.