Surat is a North Indian city, located in Ghandi’s home state of Gujarat. It is known as "The Diamond City", and for good reason. This is where 90% of the world’s rough diamond cutting and polishing takes place, and the city exports 90% of India’s diamonds. As a result, Surat has one of the fastest growing GDPs of any city in India, and this is reflected in the modern city center. Expats living in Surat will discover a well-connected, well serviced city dotted with Indian culture, such as the beautiful Surat Castle and the Ambika Niketan Temple. For expatriates who have never lived in India before, some elements of the local culture may take them by surprise. India is a Hindu country and cows, for example, are treated as deities. For this reason, it is not uncommon to find yourself in a traffic jam while a garlanded cow takes a nap in the middle of the road. Do not attempt to move it. For more advice on Hindu customs and life in India, speak to seasoned expats on the InterNations discussion groups and forums.
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Although Hindi is the national language of India, Gujarati is more commonly spoken in Surat. While English is generally spoken as a second (or third) language, any expatriate moving to Surat should learn at least a few words and phrases in both languages. If you are an expat in Surat planning on driving in and around the city, make sure you can read and understand the road signs, and remember – cars in India drive on the left hand side of the road. The climate in Surat is hot and humid, with a rainy season lasting from June to September. Due to its proximity to the Tapti River, parts of Surat are prone to flooding during these months, so before moving to Surat, choose accommodation on high ground to avoid the risk of flooding.
Surat is an industrious and busy city which has been attracting expats for many years. As the Indian economy has become more developed in recent years, more and more multinational corporations have started setting up in the country, bringing an influx of expatriate professionals with them. Expats working in Surat will receive a warm welcome from the locals, and will fit in easily with the well-established local expat community. Prepare for working life in Surat by learning some Gujarati and Hindu, and researching local customs and traditions so you can anticipate national and regional holidays. Also don’t forget to properly maintain your visas and work permits! For advice and tips on working life in India, why don’t you join InterNations? On this international online expat community you can easily get in touch with other expats living in Surat, other Indian cities, or across the world in order to socialize, share information, or business network.