In addition, the government in India (and thus the social culture) has become much more nationalistic in recent years and has refocused on its Hindu traditions and worldview. This may be difficult for some of the more secularistic Indian students returning home. While the Indian culture has been traditionally known for its acceptance of differences and even passivism toward such differences, that seems to now be intentionally changing. The government’s asking of more than 20,000 NGOs (non-governmental organizations; mainly Christian charities) to leave India last year is a prime example of this.
Indian culture is much more politically charged these days than it has been historically. This political component to culture may or may not make their return comfortable, depending upon returning students’ politics. Their family of origin may be more politically charged than in the past, and that may create issues.
As the population continues to grow in India and the older generation is living longer because of improved medicine, issues may be created for the returning students. In many cases, multiple generations are living together, and family roles are quite prescribed. And finding a job could be increasingly difficult.
Many Indian students simply follow the job market wherever it leads and do not feel inclined to return home. Many desire to find a job in the U.S., but many go to other countries where there are open jobs and the opportunity to advance their careers. A new term has been coined to describe them: career global nomads. The fact that they have adjusted to one cross-cultural situation (in coming to the U.S.) bodes well for their ability to adapt to another culture. Many graduated students find jobs in the Middle East or Africa where the job competition is not as great.
If we can find a Christian contact in the country to which a student is returning, that would be great. Certainly, we can pray that the Lord would arrange such a contact to continue to witness to them.
Principles cited in this blog: Indian students face many new issues when they return home after studying in the U.S. All in addition to traditional reverse culture shock issues.
Application for ISI ministry: We need to help students become aware of the implications of the changes in India for them personally and make a significant effort to follow up students after they return. Finding a Christian to reach out to them would be a great help.
Next blog topic: Issues Muslim students face returning home
Doug Shaw with Derrah Jackson