Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Palermo Sicily, Italy
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?
Absolutely nothing before I left
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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?
Learned the language after I arrived.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Not too much...always thought that Europe was more advanced...well some countries are but not Spain and Italy.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
VERY VERY significant. HUGE!!
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?
Never was a honeymoon stage...spent 2 years in Spain but the real nightmare began when I accepted a contract to work in Sicily.
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.
Yes, anger...frustration...drinking more, definitely depression....but I had a very very bad time when I arrived in Sicily. Palermo is not a good city to move to at all.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
The people are so lazy that they never complain about anything. The people seem to be kind. Food is good. I do love the water and the mountains.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
the mentality! These people are something else. Palermo is the wild wild west. Also, the loneliness. This can be a real winner!
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
To reduce culture shock you should have the following before you go:
Speak the lingo.
Try to have at least a friend or two to call on when you arrive
Research the particular area to find out what the place is like... better yet visit for a week and do some hands on research and then move there prepared.
Go with a significant other or family member so you have someone to talk to.
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