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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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

Dar es Salaam

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

Yes-very briefly before 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?

Yes-very basic. Planning to learn more.

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

Yes.

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

Not significant.

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?

Yes-every one of them.

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.

Medical illness and homesickness.

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

Slower pace of life; positive cultural values and ethics.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Learning to be more patient; having things not happen as quickly as I am used to.

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

I had diarrhea on a bus ride to a rural village. My husband had to get the bus to stop in the middle of the bush and went on top of the bus to grab my toilet paper, passed it to me in full view of everyone then I went into the bush to go to the bathroom while everyone had to wait. (Tanzanians view the use of toilet paper to be unclean). I confused the word AIDS with AUNTY in kiswahili, in front of all my Tanzanian in-laws...

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

Be patient with yourself. Research it and forgive yourself when you get frustrated. Make sure that those with you understand the process and be patient with you (and you to them).

More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Tanzania

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