Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Sydney, Australia
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?
Yes, before and after. I have read about Australia and about it's history. I have as well Australian friends living in Switzerland.
Moving to Australia 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?
Yes, I learned English at school.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
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?
Still settling into the culture.
Certainly refuse to fit with ridiculous "guidelines" and generalisation on how I shall do this and that.
The honeymoon stage never occurred. Irritation to anger stage flourished with the complete rejection of superficiality.
Probably adjusting despite lots of cultural behaviour that are not part of my philosophy.
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.
Certainly homesickness and another perspective of my own country. Re-evaluating things that seemed due, now I realise that I was privileged.
A good change is that I am more careful when expressing my opinion. In Europe in general we are much more straightforward and here people always smile at you and talk behind your back a second after.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
Beautiful landscapes, the immensity of the land, the see... summarising: the nature.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Mentality, obtuse thinking, superficiality, consumerism, lack of values, ignorance (everywhere, not just in Australia), racism, judging people by their accent, not being inclusive as they pretend to be, not being laid back as they tend to demonstrate to tourists... mate!
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
It is different to travel for holidays or to have a life change and practice your profession overseas.
Ideally we shall all try to understand the country we are going to. At least learn the language spoken in this country. Adapt. Be patient, with ourselves first and then for the others.
There will be obviously different ways of dealing with things and differences. We shall not try to compare (even if of course, the only evaluation measure we have, is to compare to what we know). After 3 years here, I know what I like and what I don't like. I am not obliged to comply with it and we have choices in life.
For me, despite the beauty of the country, Australia will never be home.
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