How is life at SIMS Pune

Cost of Living India: What Are The Prices In India?

This article was published on March 15, 2019 by Orange - the young portal of the Handelsblatt.

At first glance, the country with the second most inhabitants in the world is above all: colorful, dusty and loud. Wherever you look, you will find gigantic construction projects. I landed three months ago for an internship in Pune (India), a student city of three million people near Mumbai. With this article I take you into my new everyday life.

Working in India: What is the Per Capita Income?

The salaries in India differ very much. There is a minimum wage, but it is only the equivalent of 4.50 euros per day. According to the International Monetary Fund, the average per capita income is around 157 euros per month. Anyone who earns around 600 euros a month can already afford a very decent life.

A typical German student job in gastronomy would hardly be worthwhile here. However, you can monetize your German skills by offering private language lessons or trying to get a job at the Goethe Institute.

Living in India: How expensive is the rent in Pune?

A room in the dormitory costs the equivalent of around 500 euros per year, which is just under 42 euros a month. For this rent you usually get a shared room. Each student residence has a canteen, which is included in the price. The rooms do not have a kitchen.

Some residents install a kettle, which is actually forbidden. In addition to traditional chai tea (tea), you can use it to regularly cook instant noodles from Maggie for around 16 cents per serving.

The hostels are split by gender and strict visiting rules apply. There are only a few private hostels with kitchens that are more comparable to German dormitories and they also cost a little more. Otherwise, you can also find a room in a four-person shared apartment in the city for around 60 euros a month.

Shopping In India: What Are The Prices For Groceries?

The prices for food vary greatly depending on the type of business, the season and the origin of the goods. Fruit and vegetables are mostly bought from small stalls on the side of the road. As a guest you should definitely ask local friends about the prices, otherwise you will be ripped off.

However, that is not so easy either. Because the Indians are very true to themselves and often insist on their price towards tourists. You can get a kilo of tomatoes for around 40 cents, a kilo of apples already cost 2.50 euros. I happened to see walnuts in the offer for 7.50 euros.

You go to the supermarket for everything except fruit and vegetables. The star market is more western and expensive. However, you still pay less for Indian brands than for comparable foods in Germany.

The D-Mart, Reliance and Big Bazaar are a bit cheaper, but you should have good nerves and time to go shopping. Because in front of all the people you can often hardly put one foot in front of the other.

In the vicinity of many student residences there are also so-called canteens where you can eat twice a day for around 25 euros per month.

Local transport in India: what is the price of a bus and rickshaw in Pune?

Local transport in India is extremely cheap by German standards. A bus trip usually costs 25 cents, but unfortunately the destination of the trip is only displayed in Hindi. Even a timetable that has actually been adhered to has apparently not yet established itself.

The city of Pune plans to build a metro system by 2021. The railway will run partly underground, partly above ground and in some sections even as a suspension railway. Currently (as of March 2019) there are large construction sites in many streets.

Otherwise you can get around in rickshaws. They look like a mixture of a moped and a minibus. The basic price per rickshaw ride is 20 cents and then around 15 cents per kilometer. I always paid just under 100 rupees (about 1.20 euros) for my eight-kilometer walk to my institute.

You can find rickshaws pretty quickly and most drivers speak little but enough English. You should always insist on driving "by meter". Fixed prices offered are practically never to your advantage.

Uber is also strongly represented in India, the prices are similar to the rickshaws. The Indians themselves mostly move on scooters, which is faster and cheaper than driving in dense rush hour traffic. To drive a scooter you need a simple, internationally valid driver's license. You can get one in Germany at any civil registration office.

Going out in India: men pay entry, women don't

There are some clubs and many nice bars in Pune. Since most Indians live at home until their wedding (unless they study or work in another city), they rarely go out to such locations. It is more common to go on vacation to Goa and then to party extensively there.

The prices for clubs are very expensive - and staggered. Girls or women who come alone pay nothing. A couple together pays just under 20 euros. A Staj (single boy) pays up to 40 euros. In order to get in cheaper, many boys look in front of the clubs for girls who pretend to be their friends.

Drinks at the bar are also extremely expensive when measured against the per capita income of Indians. For a large beer you pay between two and four euros - depending on where you go. Cocktails usually cost around five euros.

Shopping in India: what are the prices for clothes and cell phones?

Clothing in department stores and normal shops costs as much as in Germany. You can find cheaper prices at street shops. You can buy jewelry there en masse and there are many great deals in the old town in particular.

You should be careful with clothing at the street stalls. You can rarely try on and everything is often sold in weird one-size-fits-all.

You pay very little for a cell phone contract in India. With the provider Jio, I paid only 1.80 euros per month for a SIM card with 1.5 gigabytes of data volume per day. However, the Internet is usually slower than in Germany.

Leisure activities in Pune: Bollywood cinema or a visit to the park

Although many offices in India are also open on Saturdays, life in Pune is relatively relaxed compared to other large cities. The Indians work regularly from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Depending on the length of the way home in rush hour, there isn't much time left to do something. Of course, it looks different with students.

On Sundays or the very frequent public holidays, people often meet to hike in the surrounding mountains, from there you can enjoy beautiful views, a bit of nature in the big city and even peace. Indians also like to meet in the parks. The Khadakwasla Dam is particularly popular with students.

I can highly recommend the Osho Garden. Although everyone in Pune is familiar with it, it is still an insider tip for tourists: a beautifully prepared, green landscape with a small river in the middle of the city.

Especially in the early morning you can meet many passionate runners, cyclists or walkers on the streets or in the mountains. They flee from the heat during the day and the rush hour in the evening.

Cinema is also a highlight for Indians. Most of the films are in Hindi, but they are still worth a visit. India has its own film industry with Bollywood and other western films are rarely found in cinemas.

If the film is good, you go to the cinema several times. It is not uncommon for viewers in the cinema to clap or stand up for scenes and say individual sentences. The prices vary between 1 and 8 euros depending on the length and age of the film.

Otherwise, people like to meet to have lunch or dinner together. The Indians usually order a lot of different things and then share them. You rarely pay more than five euros. Cooking together is rarely widespread among young people.

Insider tips for Pune: Here's how you can save

For food as well as clothing and drugstore items, it depends on whether the products are Indian or imported from abroad. Above all, you can save by buying seasonally and regionally, i.e. Indian. In addition, one should negotiate.

“Pune Smart City - Pune Safe City” is a new project that aims to make the city more attractive and at the same time safer through street art, exhibitions and concerts. Events usually take place on Sundays, admission is rarely paid.

The author Jessica Wille did an internship abroad in Pune (India).

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