As an Indian in the US, it can be difficult finding any semblance of your traditional culture or way of life. Obviously, much in America is different than back in India. However, this does not mean you need to give up many of your favorite activities, holidays, or even foods. All of these things can be provided by joining one of the many Indian Associations in the US. There are many different types and categories of associations. Each one also has a number of different goals, activities, and benefits of joining.
Types of Indian Associations In The US:
There is an amazingly wide range of types of Indian Associations in the US. Many of these organizations could technically be classified as humanitarian. These societies work to help improve the lives of Indian members as well as others still living back home. Others will work to help educate the community at large about India, since many North Americans probably don’t realize India is actually the world’s largest democracy. Cultural associations also seek to do about the same, by spreading knowledge of the true Indian culture.
You will also find Indian professional associations. These will normally take one of two forms: either it will be open to all types of Indian professionals, or its membership will be restricted to Indian professionals within a certain industry. For example, there might be such an association for Indian medical doctors, or all Indian professionals living in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Still other Indian Associations are dedicated to those who have lived or come from a certain section or region of India. This could be Kerala Associations or even Goan Associations, depending upon the numbers of Indian expats from each area in your city or town.
Purpose of Indian Associations:
The purpose of each Indian Association will really depend on its type and how it was formed. Cultural and humanitarian associations have the main purpose of providing education to others (not only their members) and also possibly raising funds to help the less fortunate in India and other countries.
Fellowship may also be the primary purpose of an Indian Association in the US. After all, being able to relax with other people from back home is something that you might enjoy. You may be able to learn more of the latest news and share memories, perhaps even celebrate the traditional Indian and religious holidays that are not recognized in the US.
Professional organizations are probably formed in an effort to help Indians get ahead in their fields and to form strong business and personal relationships with others who will be able to help a career advance further. Think of it as sort of a club where all of the members are looking out for each other and helping each one to achieve their goals.
Types Of Indian Association Activities:
As you can imagine the types of activities undertaken by each of these Indian Associations will depend on their purpose. You could expect more social events that invite interaction with the local community’s members and leaders when dealing with a cultural or humanitarian association.
Professional associations will be more likely to host business events. This could include networking get-togethers and other ways for professionals to interact and form meaningful business partnerships. Additional activities could include lectures and programs on business topics. There may even be the option of purchasing common business necessities like tax preparation services, retirement plans, and insurance products.
Some Indian Associations in the US:
One of the biggest Indian associations in the United States is the National Federation of Indian-American Associations. They have been in operation since 1980 and have the stated purpose of fostering good will between the people of the United States and India. Additionally, they also work to encourage unity and support the various Indian-American organizations and associations.
Another interesting group is the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the AAPI. This particular group has meetings and other events in both the United States and India. They handle a wide range of events and community service work between both nations.
Other popular organizations:
Network of Indian Professionals, North America (NetIP NA)
The Association of Indians in America (AIA)
The Federation of Indian Association (FIA)
Indian American Cultural Association (IACA)
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI)
Benefits of Joining Indian Associations:
The main benefit of joining Indian Associations in the US is being together with like-minded and friendly people of Indian descent. It could also be a way to get more involved in your local community, due to the outreach and social aspect of many of these organizations. You will also likely be reminded of India and all the things you may miss about your homeland, bringing back fond memories.
Benefits of joining a professional association include being able to conduct more business. You may be able to share leads and join in projects with other successful business professionals. So many times it seems Indian professionals end up becoming isolated from each other and this is a great way to avoid this and form closer working relationships with the leader in the Indian expat business community.
There are many different Indian Associations in the US today. Joining one (or maybe even several) in your area can be a great idea that provides you with a lot of benefits. You may find the activities to be fun and a great way to meet new people in both the Indian and the local community at large. It should certainly be fun sharing your knowledge of India with others who may have never seen our beautiful country. Professional associations also can help to advance your career in a number of interesting ways. Why not look into joining one of the many Indian Associations in the US today?