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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Phan Thiet, Vietnam


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

Phan Thiet

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

The only advice I've got was to forget everything and start from scratch. I did not realize that he meant really from scratch! In Vietnam, everything goes in another way than we are used to. I mean: everything!

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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 do understand Vietnamese; I learned it in an assimilating way as all my deputies were good in English. The Vietnamese language is not too difficult but a kind of tricky; it has Latin writing but Chinese pronunciations. Practice makes perfect!

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

Yes, and still I am! Even after 10 years in Vietnam I still experience some kind of culture shock every day. a great help for people who want to come and live in Viet Nam is to study about Taoism, Confucianism, Communism and Buddhism. this will give a great idea on the culture.

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

Very significant! Before moving to Viet Nam I was for a couple of years in the South of Europe; that was already a shock to me. When arriving to Viet Nam I realized that I ain't see nothing yet!

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?

When I came to Vietnam, it was to set up a production factory. there were no stages at that moment; only in my private life. But there was never something like a honeymoon stage! Even relations are set up, just like in communist Russia.

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.

all of them, especially partying and drinking. It is one way of release.

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

Their respect to their ancestor!

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The fact that they do everything in another way than we are used to be

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

Be well prepared before you into business

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