Living in Mumbai?
Housing, Schools and Daily Life in Mumbai
Finding Accommodation Where Space Is Limited
Space is naturally a major issue in a city like Mumbai. High-quality, spacious rental accommodation is scarce and rather expensive. Even luxurious modern apartment blocks built specifically with expats in mind can seem a bit cramped. Yet they often provide excellent facilities such as gyms, gardens, playgrounds, and club houses. Living there can be a fantastic communal experience, especially for expats with children.
People who are looking for individual space and privacy, however, might be better advised to get a house in the suburbs. The decision is a tough one especially considering the importance of your location in a city like Mumbai, where getting around always takes more time than expected. Popular expat neighborhoods in Mumbai include Powai, Bandra West, and Juhu in the north of Mumbai, Worli, Lower Parel, and Prabhadevi in mid-town, and a variety of residential areas in southern Mumbai.
When looking for accommodation, you can consult a real estate agent, a relocation agency, the local listings in newspapers, or search online. Most real estate agents in Mumbai have an online database of available property. One such website is that of Expat Properties Mumbai, but ultimately it’s probably best to ask your employer or other expats for personal recommendations.
Schools in Mumbai: A Place to Learn Close to Home
Indian state schools suffer from underfunding, facing the problems of a lack of modern facilities and staff. However, as a cosmopolitan metropolis, Mumbai has several private international schools catering to its ever-growing expat population and the affluent urban classes:
- American School Bombay
- Deutsche Schule Bombay
- École Française Internationale de Bombay
- Podar International School
- École Mondiale World School
- Oberoi International School
You can find more international schools in the city on MumbaiSchools.
It is worth bearing the location of these schools in mind when choosing your family accommodation in Mumbai. Due to the time-consuming and stressful nature of local travel, many expats are reluctant to send their child on a long journey every morning.
More often than not, however, expat families end up living a long way from the next international school so their children, particularly the younger ones, attend local private schools. In most neighborhoods, there are plenty of nurseries and primary schools which, in addition to the convenient location, help children adjust to their new community.
Unless you employ a maid who deals with all the domestic chores (which is by no means uncommon for expats in Mumbai), you will have to do the food shopping yourself. In Mumbai, you have a choice between hypermarkets in one of the immensely popular shopping malls, supermarkets, local food stalls, and farmers’ markets.
Whether you choose the mall or the market, the shopping experience will involve fighting your way through throngs of other shoppers. A trip to the local food market is also a great cultural experience. When purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables, foreigners are often surprised to realize that many people in India buy their meat for dinner while it is still alive and kicking.
One less pleasant aspect of daily life in Mumbai is the national phenomenon of “Eve teasing”, a form of sexual bullying or harassment including staring, groping, indecent exposure, and even the slapping of women in public. Although Mumbai is still safer for women than, for example, Delhi, safety concerns that come with living in the city cannot be overlooked. While awareness is growing, “Eve teasing” continues to be a serious problem in Indian society and many women still suffer due to the public humiliation it has caused them.
Expat women should try to wear conservative, “modest” clothing and use the “women only” compartments on public transport. There are also a few cab companies that offer taxi services for women with female drivers.
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