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?
Some, mostly from various vacations before I moved here permanently.
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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?
No, but I am currently taking courses in Norwegian..
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Yes and no. I was more concerned about my son than myself.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Fairly significant. I became depressed within days.
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?
My honeymoon stage was for a few days, but then I quickly moved into the irritation stage, and then cultural adjustment. I felt that my husband did not understand, and I was sick of not knowing Norwegian. I took classes seriously, and I feel much better about my situation now.
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 felt that I was definitely more homesick. My family is and always has been very supportive of this move, but I was really surprised how much more I needed them at this point in my life. I also was dealing with living with my husband in his own country, and not feeling as though he was very supportive of my feelings. I was also upset that he dismissed many of my fears.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
I love the people and their attitude. Most Norwegians are friendly, and I appreciate how they integrate the society.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Learning the language, finding a job, making sure my qualifications are legitimate.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Not knowing Norwegian fluently is a huge embarrassment to me!
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Please give yourself time..it will get better!
5 Tips for Living in Stavanger, Norway
Life in Stavanger can be complicated for expats. By most accounts, it is a difficult culture to get accustomed to, but with the right frame of mind and a willingness to adapt, it can be a rewarding expat experience.