How to Deal With Culture Shock in India

The Indian Subcontinent is a vastly diverse place that’s made up of many cultures and a variety of people. Foreigners who travel to India, especially those making their first trip, are usually unsure of what to expect and are taken aback by the enormous cultural difference they encounter the minute they set foot in the country. India can be exasperating but if you give it a chance it can be endearing as well. Here’s how you can deal with the obvious cultural differences when you travel to India:


The People:

Concepts like privacy and letting someone have their private space is an alien concept in India. As an outsider prepare to be gawked at and asked a whole lot of personal questions. However, you’ve got to realize that Indians are an inquisitive and curious lot and they don’t mean any harm. When you move past the barrage of questions you will be privy to their warm and welcoming nature.

Large parts of India are still conservative, so watch what you say, especially to women, as profanity and carefree body language won’t be appreciated. Also, when visiting religious places dress modestly and ensure that you leave your footwear outside in places like mosques and temples.

The Roads:

Haphazard traffic, unsafe driving, cows on the road and pot-hole ridden roads are all commonplace in India. Don’t even bother trying to drive or ride in the cities, it can be very confusing and risky for an outsider. Instead, rely on taxi services to get around.

The Workplace:

Most workplaces, in urban India, have embraced a corporate culture that is similar to the West. The day-to-day workings, the processes and the corporate attire will be easy to adapt to as you won’t encounter much of a difference. However, while many Indians are used to Western accents, you will be better off speaking in a clear tone to avoid any miscommunication.

The Food:

India offers a delicious variety in terms of food. However, a lot of street stalls and roadside eateries don’t maintain standards in hygiene, so try your best to avoid them. In metros, you will not face any trouble with food since restaurants offer a variety of cuisines that suit your palette. Don’t miss out on the local cuisine as India has mouthwatering treats to offer and each region has its own specialties. For water, drink only bottled water. Tap water in India does not always suit travelers.

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