A Home Away From Home

Singaporean Andrea Loh’s independent streak is what gave her the courage to relocate to Hyderabad in January this year. The 26-year-old who plans to be here for a few more months is a trained lawyer and practised commercial litigation for two years.

Published: 07th November 2014 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2014 06:12 AM   |  A+A-

HYDERABAD: Indian soujourn

“I’ve previously been here in India twice and enjoyed myself, so the transition wasn’t too jarring. I found the traffic, weather and food the most difficult adjustments. I’m taking Hindi lessons so that I can communicate better on the street,” says Andrea who came to the city to work in a startup. “I moved here to join a mobile technology solutions startup called Mxit. I am currently their deputy commercial manager. Her official profile on The Apprentice Asia refers to Andrea’s independent streak which manifests itself in the form of her chronic wander lust - she always travels solo and has proven that she can stand up for herself . During a trip to Laos, the feisty young lady boldly decked a rugby player who got too close for comfort.

But was it easy making friends and meeting people in the city?  “While I started off with more expat friends, I’ve taken the effort to network with lots of locals too. I think knowing locals is the best way to get to know a city. I’d say my local friends now outnumber the expats,” says Andrea. Here is more in her own words

Culture shock

I certainly struggled to deal with the more laid-back culture of Hyderabad, especially since Singapore is such a fast-paced society and we’re very demanding folks.

Hyderabad sometimes feels like a small town, where everyone knows everyone, and that can get a bit boring after a while. In big cities, you’re always meeting new people from all over the world. Personally, I really don’t like how there is very obvious inequality in the way people live here too. I find that quite difficult to stomach at times.

Anything to recommend

The Park Hyatt is one place where I find respite-- when I miss the comforts of home, the food and hospitality there are a nice occasional treat.

As for nightlife, Over The Moon has incredible atmosphere, and Lost Society do great drinks. My best recommendation would definitely be to get out there, go beyond the expat circles, and make friends with locals!

Life as an expat

I don’t think being an expat has changed how I approach my work. If anything, I am conscious of bringing a different style and pace of working to the table. We’re very on-the-go and straightforward.

Enjoy most about Hyderabad

I love the small things about Hyderabad- the coconut and dosa stalls on the corner, and the amazing cool weather from November to February!

Cost of living

Well Singapore is officially ranked the world’s most expensive city... so its safe to say Hyderabad’s a much more reasonable place to live.

Never would have expected

Probably driving stick on crazy Road No.12, and riding on a motorcycle with two other people-- that would never happen in Singapore.

Cope with repatriation

“Cope” isn’t the right word, it suggests a struggle. I think wherever in the world I end up, I’ll just focus on living like a local and finding the best places for food!

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