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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Atenas, Costa Rica

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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 Costa Rica soon?

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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 Yes

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


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

1 to 10 (10 = unbearable) 4

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?

Yes. Honeymoon phase is over after one year and I'm working on skipping directly to acceptance. We'll see.

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.

Anxiety and sleeplessness as daily stresses eg: banking and shopping were much more difficult because of language barrier.

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

Importance of family and living a simple life.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Lack of planning and foresight.

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

Don't ask "why." Work on remaining positive. Don't compare your new country to the old country.

More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Costa Rica

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Comments about this Report

Jul 20, 2012 17:06

Lived in Atenas for 16 months. It is expensive. very small and very clicky. Bus system is good! Banking in Costa Rica is the worse BCR sucks!!!!!!!! Costa Rica is not cheap place to live. and San Jose is one big getto!! NEVER start a business there the red tape is unbelievable. Nobody knows nothing and nobdy does anything!!!! They claim there ECO friendly what BS!! Visit for a few weeks! And then go home!!!!!

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