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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Sana'a, Yemen

Submitted by Gitana1001

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

Sana'a

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

no .. but I have traveled and lived in several countries and dealt with multi-cultural communities before.

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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 I do speak Arabic language. I knew it from before which helped a great deal.

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

no ... like they say 'have no expectations so you won't get disappointed'

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

I look at each culture as a rich experience that I should try to understand and gain from. So I don't use 'culture shock' I use 'culture experience'!

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?

Well, if you don't have pre-set expectations or pre-judgment and you consider it a learning experience and be patient while learning -- like learning any new subject at school, you'll enjoy the experience.

You cannot compare even one state or province with the other in the same country where you come from! So how about completely different country and 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.

I noticed that the more 'culture shock' one goes through in life ... one becomes more tolerant, patient, accepting and smiles more!

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

I appreciate very much that the Yemeni's I met so far are so kind, laid back, friendly, helpful and appreciate it when they feel you are putting the effort into understanding their culture and accepting them just the way they are!

Like any relationship (male or female) - have no expectations and don't try to change the other to fit the image in your imagination - and you' be happy!

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The most challenging is the pace of doing things, but it's always the case when u travel from even one city to the other! You get use to it and start relaxing instead of being angry and upset!

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

Not yet! hope I don't embarrass myself here!

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

Yemen is one of the oldest civilizations - try to learn more about the culture and deal with the people with patience, tolerance and an open heart.

Of course, like anywhere else in the world - just be careful and make sure whatever you do - you are in a safe secure environment! Don't go wandering on your own somewhere and you get lost or kidnapped and then blame others! Check things out and places you want to go to with expats or knowledgeable trusted people or with your embassy. Best of luck and enjoy!

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Comments about this Report

prs1016
Apr 19, 2011 14:51

This is not helpful really as it doesn't answer most of the questions just gives this person's attitude towards living in another country. That is not what is needed here.

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