How long have you been in India?
I started travelling to India at the beginning of 2012 and initially travelled between India and Thailand. Then I settled permanently in India in August 2012 so I have been here now for the most part of three years.
What brought you to India?
I was transferred internally here with my job. I have been working abroad in Asian countries for many years and I have always had a very strong interest in the Indian culture and the people so I was delighted when my job gave me the opportunity to live and work here.
What do you love most about being in India?
There are so many things to love about India; the spirit and culture and the nature of the people and I absolutely love Indian fashion, the fabrics and colours and also the Indian cuisine.
Are there any great moments that particularly stand out for you?
I have so many great moments to cherish. I have enjoyed travelling a little bit in India and still have many more areas that I would like to explore whilst I am here. India is such a vast and interesting country to travel within.
What have been your greatest integration challenges?
There is an adapting process when moving and settling into new countries when you don’t know anybody but I am accustomed to adapting to new environments and therefore have faced minimal challenges. If I was to choose one thing that was the most challenging, I would say it was adjusting to the extreme weather changes in New Delhi, with dry hot summers reaching 48 degrees. You have to be really careful and stay hydrated.
Have there been any individuals or organisations that particularly helped with your move and integration?
I have been warmly welcomed by some many wonderful people and have very much enjoyed my journey in India from the start. Jaypee Hotels Group and Six Senses have also supported and made my integration very comfortable and successful.
Have you joined any networking groups?
I have made many friends and joined networking groups including women’s networking groups and spa and wellness associations.
Do you have any practical tips for ex-pats moving to India about how to integrate or deal with cultural differences?
When integrating into any new country, I feel it is important to respect and embrace the cultural differences. This will help the integration process and allows for a better opportunity to meet people, to fit in and understand the cultural differences. On a personal level, one should make sure that the home environment is quickly established to allow for basic comfort and safety. Always maintain alertness and ensure your own safety by making common sense decisions related to moving around and socialising.
What does the future hold for you?
I will definitely continue working within the spa and wellness industry as this is my career and life and hopefully will remain in India a lot longer.