Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Dar Es Salaam
Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?
No, although I had got to know some people from Tanzania before I went there.
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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?
I learned the language while my visit in Tanzania. The people were very enthusiastic to help, and follow my learning process.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
It was more of a getting-to-know process for me than a real "shock". Although after some week I started to get difficulties to live after the time-perspective that many Tanzanian seemed to share. It teared when things just didn't work out.
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?
Yeah I could say that, maybe not so much the rejection part so much, but otherwise...
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.
For the first time I felt homesick. But that was only in the beginning. Frustration or irritation came after some weeks when things just didn't work the way I would have expected to work like in Germany or when they just kept taking ten times the time I'm used to. But after a while I became more flexible and relaxed about it.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
The openness and love of the people!
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
To communicate. I noticed that even if the words often were there, it was common to talk past each other, when it came to other things than just basics.
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?
Be open and love being there
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