Chennai is host to many British expats living in the city. There are multiple banks such as Barclays, RBS and HSBC that have back office operations in the city along with many of the FTSE100 companies having a presence.
The vast majority of these businesses operate out of IT parks in the south of the city along a road called Old Mahabalipuram Road – or simply OMR as the locals call it. This road is dotted with large IT parks that employ thousands of back office workers for many household names.
Many British expats living in Chennai choose to live either along the OMR where there are dozens of upscale apartment complexes or along the East Coast Road (known as the ECR) which has a range of villas.
Smaller apartments can cost from 25,000 rupees per month while villas with swimming pools can cost upwards of 200,000 rupees a month.
British Deputy High Commission
The British Deputy High Commission in Chennai is located on Anderson Road which is off Haddows Road in Nungambakkam.
The British Council in Chennai is designed to help promote cultural relations between Great Britain and India. It often organizes cultural events or exhibitions in collaboration with people from Chennai and in India. The British Council in Chennai also has a large library of fiction and non-fiction books and movies.
Most expats who relocate with their families to Chennai send their children to the American International School. It’s the largest school of its kind in the city and is geared specifically to educating children from a range of countries and backgrounds. The cost per child, per year is $35,000 USD and most expats will have their company cover the cost of the school fees.
There are alternative schooling options available, although they might follow a local syllabus. For example, Vael’s Billabong pre-school and Vael’s International School for 8 to 16 year olds is located on the ECR and costs around 100,000 rupees per year per child.
There are two important things to know about eating out 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
There are plenty of restaurants in Chennai that serve excellent food, however they’ll all have dishes tweaked to local tastes. American fast food outlets have started opening up in the city and you’re never too far away from a KFC, Dominos, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s or Burger King. You’ll even find Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Dunkin’ Donuts outlets dotted around the city.
Nando’s and Hard Rock Cafe have restaurants in the city but they do not serve alcohol and the meat dishes are limited to lamb and chicken.
For good food accompanied with wine or beer, you can head to one of the upscale hotels like the Hilton, Hyatt, Grand Chola or Leela. These hotels serve many western dishes at prices similar to what you might pay at home.
Expat Groups and Clubs
There are plenty of groups and clubs to be a member of as a British 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.