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Interview with Maheshwaran – an Indian expat in Italy

Updated 10 Oct 2023

After moving to Italy 10 years ago, Maheshwaran Jothi decided to create an online forum to help others looking to relocate abroad. He’s also published a book called Benvenuto in Italy, which can be found on Amazon. You can visit his website at

About Maheshwaran

MaheshwaranQ: Where are you originally from? 
A: India

Q: What country and city did you move to? 
A: Milan, Italy

Q: When did you move? 
A: 2013

Q: Is this your first expat experience? 
A: Yes.

Q: Did you move here alone or with a spouse/partner or family? 
A: Family.

Q: Reason for moving? 
A: Work

Living in Milan

Q: What do you enjoy most about Milan and Italy in general? 
A: Living style and work-life balance.

Q: What do you miss most about home? 
A: Of course, friends and relatives. A bit far to make a sudden, unplanned visit!

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life here? Did you experience culture shock at all? 
A: Yes, the way they greet was a bit of a shock. One of the big drawbacks is the paperwork and delays in every government office.

Q: What are your favourite things to do on the weekend? 
A: Love driving around and visiting those untouched villages. Every other village is beautiful in its own way and has plenty of history.

Q: What’s public transport like in Milan? 
A: Being in Milan is a boon due to the excellent public transport. But be prepared; they often have strikes!

Q: What do you think of the healthcare available in Italy? What should expats expect from local doctors and hospitals? 
A: This is a big downside. The long delays for any appointments are scary. Paid medication is rather costly. So, expect a lot of delays in appointments for any medical checks.

Q: What’s the standard of housing like in Milan? What different options are available? 
A: In the centre of the city, it’s mostly houses with 100 years of history. On the periphery, it’s mainly apartments.

Working in Italy

Q: How easy or difficult was getting a work permit and/or visa? Did you tackle the visa process yourself, or did you enlist the services of an immigration consultant? 
A: This was and is the most Herculean task for any people getting into Italy legally. Luckily, I had my office taking care of this. But hearing other stories makes me worry about the delays and confusion it creates in bringing your spouse or kids here for a long-term stay.

Q: What is the economic climate in the city like? 
A: Low growth and unemployment rising are what I've heard from the news and friends.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home? 
A: Greatly depends on the sector you are in. Mostly, the IT sector seems the same as back home. Other jobs are pretty cool, with good work-life balance.

Family and children in Italy

Q: How has your partner adjusted to your new home? 
A: She had a bit of trouble initially, but two kids have kept her busy and blend in here. Weekends with family is something that makes her very happy.

Q: Did your children settle in easily? What were the biggest challenges for them during the move? 
A: My son had a big challenge due to language since he arrived here at 14 years old. Going to school with zero knowledge of Italian was the worst nightmare. Surprisingly, he managed to get along and is now doing his engineering in Italy!

Q: What are your favourite family attractions and activities in the city? 
A: Lakes and hikes. Once in a while, cinemas.

Q: What are the schools like? 
A: International schools are very expensive. Public schools are good, with some exceptions.

Final thoughts

Q: Any advice you’d like to offer to new arrivals in Italy? 
A: Learn the language as soon as possible. If you miss learning in the beginning, then it’s never done.

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