Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Salalah, Oman
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?
Moving to Oman Soon?
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 didn't speak Arabic before I came here but the company offered some language training. Arabic is easier than I thought it would be once you get to learn the alphabet.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
I was a bit worried about the position of the woman in Oman. Especially here in the south where things a quite conservative. I also wasn't looking forward to living in a country with little or no grass/ trees/ flowers etc.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
I didn't like the fact that I had to wear long trousers and shirts when I first moved here. I was also shocked by their dangerous driving. Besides the above I had to get used to the fact that there is hardly any greenery here. Other than that Oman is very easy going.
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 guess I went through the honeymoon phase initially. The weather was lovely and I was at the pool 3-4 times per week. Swimming, sunning, relaxing.
The irritation phase started after 1 week when I had a minor road accident due to the crazy driving of the Omani here who sometimes seem to have got their driving license with a packet of cornflakes.
I'm actually still stuck in both phases after having been here for 2 years.
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.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
I love the sophistication of the people here. Although they keep to themselves they are always friendly and hospitable. Most of them are just plain lovely.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Covering most parts of my body even when it's scorching hot. I also just cannot understand why women would agree to being in such a submissive role.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
I ate a banana in front of a very hungry Omani in the middle of Ramadan. I was shocked when I found out that I'd totally forgotten about Ramadan but the Omani was very nice about it.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Go into anything you do with an open mind and be open to new things. Try not to be too critical about the other culture and always search for the positive things.
More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Oman