There is a small but growing community of German expats living in Chennai. This is thanks to the establishment of car plants like BMW and companies like Daimler, Siemens, Bosch and SAP building out their back offices in the city’s IT parks.
The BMW car plant is located about 40KM to the south west of Chennai in an area called Mahindra World City where dozens of other large companies have factories and offices. Despite being so far from the city, there are plenty of accommodation options around this area from small apartments to large villas.
Most other German companies have their offices on a section of road called Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR). There are dozens of massive IT parks along this road that house the back offices of some of the largest corporations in the world. Because of the concentration of business along this road, the area has developed faster than Chennai itself and it now hosts large apartment complexes and every modern convenience you might need.
For German expats looking for a villa to stay in, the East Coast Road (ECR) which runs parallel to the OMR offers plenty of villas big and small and many come with swimming pools.
Prices for accommodation in Chennai can range from 25,000 a month for a small apartment to more than 200,000 a month for a large villa with a swimming pool.
German Consulate General
The German Consulate General is located in the Boat Club Road area of Chennai which is along the banks of the River Adyar.
To build cultural relations between Germany and India, the Goethe institut runs German language workshops along with organizing cultural events and exhibitions. The library has German books, music and movies which might make the perfect place to go when you are feeling homesick!
The German International School located near Kottivakkam to the south of the city is the only school in the city that teaches lessons in German. It admits children from 18 months to 18 years old.
The other school that many expat families send their children to is the American International School. This school teaches its lessons in English and educates children from dozens of different countries. Fees for the American International School start around $35,000 USD per child, per year.
Chennai has a variety of good restaurants to eat at however there are two big drawbacks:
- Meat is restricted to chicken, lamb (mutton) and fish. Items like beef and pork cannot be found at most restaurants and are only available at specialised and little advertised butcher shops.
- Alcohol is highly restricted in Chennai. The only place to buy beer or wine to have with your food is at a restaurant in one of the hotels.
You will find all the large fast food chains have outlets in Chennai so you are never too far from a McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King or Dominos Pizza. That said, you won’t find a Big Mac or Whopper on the menu of the burger places as they do not serve beef or pork.
You can get your coffee fix at any one of the Starbucks or Costa Coffee outlets that can be found across the city or you can satisfy your taste buds at a Nandos or Hard Rock Cafe – but as mentioned above, no beer or wine can be served with these meals.
There are lots of other places to eat in the city but you might have to get used to many dishes tasting different as they are altered to suit the tastes of the local population – a spicy chicken lasagne being one of them!
Expat Groups and Clubs
There are plenty of groups and clubs to be a member of as a German 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.