Given the large number of American companies in Chennai from Amazon to Verizon and everything in between, the city plays host to a growing community of American expats. The American International School in Taramani, the most popular school for expats with children, also draws a large pool of teachers from America.
Most American companies can be found with back offices in one of the large IT parks to the south and south east of the city. There’s also the large Ford manufacturing plant in Maraimalai Nagar, about 45KM to the south east of Chennai.
For this reason, many American expats will live in the southern suburbs of Chennai. Neighbourhoods like Adyar, Besant Nagar, Thiruvanmeyur are popular as are many locations along the East Coast Road (ECR) and especially along the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR). Most housing is apartments but along the ECR in places like Neelankari there are some large independent houses with gardens and swimming pools.
Housing can cost from 25,000 rupees per month for a small apartment to more than 200,000 rupees per month for a villa with a pool.
American Expat Guide
The Chennai Expat Guide is a 287 page book that has been written to help American expats moving to Chennai make their transition as smooth as possible. Constantly updated with the latest information and advice, it’s an essential purchase for anyone moving to Chennai. You can get the paperback copy shipped to your door or you can download it for your Kindle.
US Consulate in Chennai
The US Consulate in Chennai is located right in the middle of the city next to a major road junction called Gemini flyover.
There are plenty of good schools in the city, however most expats will send their children to the American International School located in Taramani to the south of the city. The school follows the American education syllabus. The cost is around $35,000 USD per child, per year and most companies sending their employees abroad will take care of this cost. The academic years starts in August and the school accepts admissions until the first week of May.
There are two big things to remember when eating and drinking in Chennai:
- Most meats are not readily available. Lamb and chicken are the most popular meats while other meats like beef and pork are only available at specialist butcher shops and at the more expensive hotel restaurants.
- Alcohol is not available at most restaurants. Only restaurants in hotels can serve alcohol.
All the global fast food restaurants can be found in Chennai. McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Starbucks all have outlets here. However, in the case of the burger joints, you won’t find beef burgers on the menu. Beef is a sensitive subject in India due to cows being revered in Hinduism.
Sometimes, restaurants will use euphemisms for beef on the menus but be aware that often ‘beef’ in India means buffalo, which doesn’t have the same level of reverence. Similarly, lamb and mutton comes from goats, and not sheep.
There are other popular restaurants like Nando’s and Hard Rock Cafe in the city but you won’t be able to order any alcoholic beverages from these places.
The best option for western food that can be enjoyed with a beer or wine is to head to one of the large five star hotels such as the Hilton, Hyatt, Marriot, Park or Grand Chola. The prices are comparable to what you might pay back at home, or in the case of wine, much more than you might pay back at home.
Keep an eye on the Chennai expat blog to find out about food festivals that are happening in the best restaurants in the city.
Expat Groups and Clubs
There are plenty of groups and clubs to be a member of as an American expat in Chennai. Internations connects people from all over the world and hosts regular events at different locations in the city. For expat women, the Overseas Women’s Club is a highly active club to be involved with.
Buy the Chennai Expat Guide Book
Written by a British expat who has lived in Chennai for over nine years, the Chennai Expat Guide is everything you need to know (and even things you didn’t know you needed to know!) about moving to and living in Chennai. It’s available as a paperback book which can be delivered to your door or you can immediately download it for your Kindle.