Moving to Bangalore is probably not the easiest step in many careers, even for experienced expatriates. The city offers a sharp contrast between high-tech industries and the luxurious lifestyle of a few on one hand, and the poverty of the larger urban population on the other hand. However, expats living in Bangalore might be less exposed to visible destitution than in some other Indian metropolises.
Bangalore was once called the “Garden City”, or “a Pensioner’s Paradise”, due to its pleasant parks and the less frantic lifestyle as compared to other Indian cities. While these days are long gone, most foreigners moving to Bangalore still benefit from relatively high living standards.
A tropical wet and dry climate awaits new residents. Thanks to the city’s elevated position on the Deccan Plateau, expatriates moving to Bangalore from cooler climes enjoy the comparatively moderate weather. With temperatures reaching an average high of 34°C during the hottest period in April and dropping down to 15°C in January, inhabitants of Bangalore hardly face the same extreme conditions as, for example, those living in New Delhi.
The monsoons bring a lot of rainfall, though, mainly during the months of June to September. The heat and humidity are nevertheless a problem for many expats. Even if you are used to high temperatures, do not underestimate the time it takes to get used to the tropical climate: quite a few new arrivals fall ill for a couple of days after first moving to Bangalore.
The advent of railway and telegraph connections in the second half of the 19th century caused a lot of rural dwellers to move to Bangalore. The 1940s and 1970s again saw huge waves of migrants flocking to the city.
Expats started moving to Bangalore in growing numbers in the late 1980s after the first multinational IT corporations had set up their offices there. With its rich mix of cultures, religions, and languages, the city still testifies to this long history of migrants moving to Bangalore. Expats coming to Bangalore today can enjoy the city’s international flair.
Despite repeated terror warnings issued by Western governments, Bangalore is generally considered safe, a comparatively ‘soft’ target. After decades of mostly friendly coexistence, however, religious tensions between Muslims, Hindus, and Christians have manifested themselves all across India in recent years. In August of 2012, for instance, a series of rumors propagating religious persecution caused thousands of people of different faiths to leave Bangalore for their home regions. Evidently, tensions between Muslims and Hindus are still very much alive. More recently, in December 2014, a blast in the center of Bangalore killing one person had the city on edge.
Expatriates moving to Bangalore should therefore be aware of the potential threat of terrorist attacks. It is always a good idea to stay alert when visiting public places or attending events that attract large crowds. Always keep in mind, though, that you are much more likely to get injured in a traffic accident than in a terrorist attack. So there's no reason to be paranoid!
There are other, slightly more tangible threats to your well-being in Bangalore. These include vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, and chikungunya (another tropical fever), as well as gastrointestinal diseases caused by a lack of proper hygiene. If you take reasonable precautions against mosquito bites and are careful when buying food and drinking water, these threats to your health are avoidable.
Check that all standard vaccinations such as tetanus, MMR, polio, pertussis, diphtheria, and influenza are up to date before moving to Bangalore. People whose intended period of stay in Bangalore is longer than six months should consider additional immunizations for the following diseases: hepatitis (both types), typhoid fever, pneumococci, meningitis, encephalitis, and rabies.
If no health insurance scheme is provided by your employer, make sure to take out comprehensive insurance coverage before leaving for Bangalore. Although there are some excellent private hospitals, clinics and specialists in Bangalore, the general standard of healthcare and treatment might not conform to what you are used to. Most private clinics offer highly specialized, complicated treatments, but not all of them are suited to provide emergency treatments or to care for patients with general health concerns.
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