Learning to live abroad was easier with Wise


Shilpa and Sachin relocated from India to Europe, where they came up with the idea for their popular YouTube channel “Flying Abroad,” which shares tips and advice for Indians moving abroad. Their biggest piece of advice? Learning how to manage your international finances is crucial — and for them, Wise is a big part of that story.

We save money on every transaction, and that adds up

We live in Frankfurt, Germany. Sachin came here first from Bangalore to do his Masters in Computer Science, which was a fantastic opportunity because Germany doesn’t charge tuition fees. Shilpa joined a few years later. We got married in 2018 and decided to settle in Europe.

The move was hard at first because everything was so different compared to our lives in India. Back then, there was no information out there to help Indians settling into a new country — we just had to figure things out. The language was a big barrier, initially, and it was important for us to find a group of friends to help us adjust.

Managing our money internationally was another big challenge. It was complicated and time-consuming just to open a bank account, and there was a lot of paperwork. The fees were higher for certain services, too, such as transferring money back to India. I needed to send money home so I asked my friends what the best option was. Everyone recommended Wise. We gave it a shot and have been using it ever since.

Wise is much better than a bank. We save money on every transaction, and that adds up. The difference is that Wise always shows us a fair exchange rate. That transparency is so important.

When I compare it to the banks, there is a huge difference — the bank’s rate is always much lower than the mid-market rate. It doesn’t matter if you’re losing €20 or €30 per transaction — why would you pay more if you don’t need to? Every penny matters, and we’re able to use the money we save with Wise for a nice dinner or a date night.

We also like Wise because it tells you when the money has been added or is on its way, which gives you peace of mind. It’s also great for travelling, because the debit card lets you take out local currency or spend internationally without having to worry about converting the money yourself.

We just returned from Switzerland, where the Wise debit card made everything much easier. It’s convenient, cheap and transparent — we now recommend Wise to everyone.

Our goal was to share the realities of life abroad

Our experience of relocating to Germany inspired us to start our Flying Abroad channel on YouTube. When Sachin first came here, there wasn’t that much information out there that explained the process of moving abroad — there were certainly no Youtube channels. We wanted to share our experience of moving abroad, finding jobs, and studying abroad, so that people could see the realities of life abroad for a couple who have left India for Europe.

So, we started our own Youtube channel to share videos about our lives out here. We talk about everything from grocery shopping to using public transit — to help people get a feel for what moving overseas is really like. We are glad to connect with our YouTube community on a regular basis, and with everyone who wants to know what life abroad is like.

Lots of people write to us to say that they were considering moving to the US or Canada, but that they now plan on moving to Germany or Europe. Indians have always moved abroad, but it used to be primarily to English speaking countries. It’s nice to see that it’s more common in other European countries these days.

Germans are also friendly and welcoming, which makes it easier to settle here. Nonetheless, life is different compared to where we come from. Even the environment looks like it’s straight out of a painting — it surprises us every time we’re out.

There are things that we miss, of course. The food, for example! Despite the fact that we have other Indian friends here, getting good Indian food can be challenging. You can find similar dishes, but it’s not quite the same. I miss home cooking and the things you get while out like panipuri and all the street chaat.

We’d recommend living abroad to anyone who’s thinking about it. Living here has expanded our world view. It’s been great to challenge ourselves and to help so many people with our videos. If you’re looking to move abroad, our advice would simply be: it’s okay to come out of your comfort zone. It might look scary, but you’ll figure things out along the way.

As told to Chris Hockman and Sandy Choephel. Photography provided by Sachin and Schilpa, and edited by Stephanie Stoddard Cortés.

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