Friday, March 6, 2009

Returning to India from US

As of 2006 ,66,000 students from India were enrolled in grad studies in the US of A.
In the fall of 2003, I was probably one of the 15,000 Desi grad students who entered the USA.
No data exists on the number of people who come back.

But being one of them, I can be sure there aren't many who can do that.2 years ago I came back . Got out with a MS and 10 months of work ex. Long ago when I left the shores of India, I was soo confident that I would come back. Over the next 2 years I saw that a number of my hard held beliefs ,when I left the shore , were not quite true. Today I see hundreds of amazingly smart Indians making the same assumption. I have tried to address these myths and argue why they are indeed myths.

Here we go!
Myth:1 I am going to US for a multi cultural experience.

Most of the advanced degree programs in US are full of Indians and Chinese. If you find a 5:1 ratio of Indians amongst your friends circle you should consider yourself lucky. It usually is much higher.

Myth:2 I shall come back with a advanced degree for a faster career growth.

The most important myth. This is the key reason why most ppl go to US in first place. However, the market in India is not demanding any higher degree than a Bachelors. Greater experience is more valued than a better degree. Infact the market for MS is low because with a degree from abroad you expect higher pay,when the company can get the same job done from a fresh engineer with lower cost. This is the core argument. The demand for MS is ONLY there is US ,NOT india.

Myth:3 I have lived in India for 20 years compared to 3-4 in US. Once I go back I will be fine.

From my experience the answer is NO. By 3 years people get used to life so much , that the Indian life is suddenly full of corruption,bureaucracy,chaos,religious fundamentalism,repressive society,poor education system and what not.In US,The pace of life is just right and nobody really cares about frivolous things.Most of you friends are Indians. Why go back all the way when you can get the best of both worlds(Indian friends and American life)?

Myth:4 People who end up with green cards are not patriotic.

People here are not much different than the one's in India. I am of the opinion that they were slowly brainwashed in to thinking that being in US is a a better life and they can still be patriots as long as they stay in touch with their country and do something good for it.

Myth:5 Get MS , get work ,finish loan, come back!

Everyone whom I have met says this. Unfortunately, most of them( 95% would be my guesstimate) stay back. The "Get MS , get work ,finish loan, come back" argument in fact has some legal loopholes. Once you start working you have to work for 2 years minimum. So, that's 4 years of life outside US. (Remember : Coming back to India after is a move which will decrease pay, decrease career prospects and take away all of Americas easy lifestyle)

Related Readings:

b)The book "Maximum City" is partially about the authors experiences on coming back to India.

I felt the same frustrations when I moved back.

c)The book "Namesake" was a strong motivation for me to force myself to comeback.

I got myself that book and read it like a bible.

d)Wings of Fire gave me a good picture of how hard things might be once I will be back in India.

PS1 :I know that it was not a good idea to come back. Life was so much better there. But I am a irrational person.

PS 2:I have an irrational attachment to india which made me come back. (NOT patriotism).

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