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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago

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

San Fernando

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

Yes, before the move. I lived here with my boyfriend.

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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?

They speak a kind of English here. I learned English at school, but am still fighting to understand the local slang (after 1.5 years here...)

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


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

The culture shock came in as soon as we started to build our house. People we deal with are unreliable, they don't show up, they don't give notice, they have an excuse for everything, they have no pride in doing good work. It is a constant struggle, very frustrating, I lost a lot of weight, I almost lost my mind, I am very sorry I ever moved here!!!!!

I can't wait till we have things put in place to go back to my home country!!!

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?

After 11 months of contact with locals daily, I am still just frustrated and I DON'T WANT to settle into this kind of culture!

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.

Anger, frustration, depression, homesickness, decreased eating, loosing weight, anxiety - I NEVER EVER felt so bad in my life before! Moving here was the biggest mistake in my life.

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

Nothing. I only like the warm climate.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

People lie, people don't do anything perfect, they are lazy, they have no pride in what they do, they have no aspiration to achieve a goal.

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

Since I have troubles understanding the local slang, I sang a song from the radio like this:

"Granny, girl, tell me why you are hunting me..." (thinking of the dead grandmother as a ghost)

while the original goes like this:

Indrani, girl, tell me why you are horning me...

Indrani = a girl's name

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

Nobody from a first world country should ever move to a third world country with the intention to live there for the rest of their lives!

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