My expat story. Marta Castellanos Gonzalez: a very personal testimony about experience in India.


Hi, my name is Marta, I come from Spain, I am 27 years old and I am lucky to be able to enjoy India for longer than 2 years. I came one 4th May 2015 as a volunteer to FSL India and, here I remain, impossible to leave!

My experience in India has provided me with the best memories of my life, as well as the most challenging ones in a professional, personal and social way but, at the same time, they have meant the biggest learnings in my life. Living in a country as different as India is to mine, with such a different culture and different way of understanding life, work, religion, family, love –everything- to the one I am used to, made me analyse many things inside me, getting great insights not only about Indian culture but also about mine. It made me grow as a professional as much as a human being.

I always think that living abroad will provide you with wonderful learnings, which are hard to be defined with words. Furthermore, living in a country like India cannot leave you indifferent at all.

In few days, I was already eating with my hands and starting to enjoy spicy food. In few weeks, I was already wearing the typical Indian clothes and even pronouncing some words of this unpronounceable language called Kannada. I was starting to get used to the chaotic traffic, to the cows and dogs in the streets, to the mix of smells, to the magical colours, to the landscapes and the endless list of breath-taking things that makes India be what it is. In a very short time, India had become home to me.

Marta Castellanos Gonzalez enjoying India
Marta Castellanos Gonzalez

Professionally, I was lucky to work with an amazing group of people who, however the huge cultural difference, we managed to understand each other as much as to make of the group, a great team. My work, adaptation to the culture and the positive understanding with the FSL family made my 7-month voluntary program become a lifetime program, which I do not know if it ever has an end.

However, my experience, as every stay-abroad- I guess, has not been made out of positive experiences only: not having your people around, having to be patient in order to understand and be understood among so different people to you, the need of a high level of pro-activeness to succeed, having to get used to the social rules in such an extreme country like this one, etc. it is not easy at all. My theory: every experience will provide you with a unique learning, even more special if the situation is not easy. I think you grow a lot and feel free when you adopt this life statement and enjoy the way, however the tough moments.

It is said that India is a country that you fall in love with or you will not like it at all. In my case, India is a country, which will always have a space in my heart wherever fate takes me…

Marta Castellanos Gonzales is a native from Spain. Arrived to India for her long term internship-volunteering, fell in love with the country, its culture and people. More about organization where she got placed can be found here: CLICK and here CLICK.  How Marta grew in India, how her experience in FLS looked like – you can watch here CLICK.

Photo source: personal archive of Marta