Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?
Ha ha. No
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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?
I moved to Germany in Summer of 2000 and immediately took an intro to German language course (overpaid majorly in MUC 800 DM!) the was admitted to the Max Weber Inst (part of the HD Uni program) for German languag, literature & culture. In less than 2 years I not only spoke almost fluent German, but also received a certificate (DSH). With this I was able to apply for a Masters Program and found tons of jobs
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Not during my 1st 4 years of studying. Afterwards I started working in advertising and reality reared its ugly head.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
I live in California over 20 yrs and I tell you one thing, Germans need to relax, have more fun, take more risks and laugh whenever possible. They are too serious, always plan everything, are almost never spontaneous. Not to mention the customer service...ooohhh llaaa laaa
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 was told plenty of times the following: You are "too" American; Stop dreaming' Speak German, you are in Germany; Your written German is not perfect
Being here now 10 yrs, I am able to give back criticism and appreciate when someone compliments my German and personal skills. You really get thick skin after a while.
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.
I cannot seem to keep a job for longer than 1 yr here. I miss working with people that are "thinking out of the box". I realised that at the beginning of my new life in Germany I was more relaxed and comfortable with myself. Now I realised (incl my friends in California) that I am quieter, trying to fit in, not relaxed, always aware of my surroundings. All the work criticism really got to me and so I tried to change. Not a good decision because I have changed negatively. I am working in finding me again.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
I found the love of my life and he balances and compliments me 100%. No men in the USA come clsoe to him.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Finding the right job! It is not the tasks but the people that are making the difference.
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