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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Chiang Mai

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?


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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

No & No

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?


How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

I lived in Chiang Mai so tHE culture shock was minimal

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

I went through what is called the "Rose Colored Glasses" stage...but it wasn't that bad.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

increased eating and to some extent ...drinking

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Thais are very laid-back with a very strong focus on family. They also have an extraordinary work ethic which is probably do to the harsh standard of living.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

learning the Eastern ways

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

None that I recall

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Go with the flow and realize that you are not in the states anymore...]for that matter your not part of a "western" ..first world...civilization.

More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Thailand

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Comments about this Report

Jan 5, 2012 12:20

Always remember one thing: You are a GUEST to the country you travel to. You may not like the politics or the way of life....and if not, it is not your business to tell the world. Or better yet, do not go. For Thailand, one of my favorite cultures, however, as the person said above "go with the flow". regards..Charlie

Jan 29, 2014 13:58

My experience as an American in CM was different. It was like landing on a different planet. Everything I saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and touched was different from what I was used to. Even common ideas about walking down the sidewalk, crossing a street, driving, etc were different from expected. Yes, I loved CM and the people there. However, the language barrier was too big for me and I finally had to leave.

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