Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
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, it was before I moved.
Moving to Dominican Rep 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 speak very little Spanish. I learned using a visuale link Spanish Course and many of my friends have been Spanish speaking to me for over 30 years.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
I was never worried about culture shock before I moved, due to the fact that I have traveled to several spanish speaking countries in South America for many years.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
It was extreme. It caused me to bunker down at my apartment and only travel outside with my fiance when she was not at work.
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! I've been through all of the above stages.
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.
#1 Anger, #2 frustration, #3 anxiety, #4 depression.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
I appreciate the fact that under extreme poverty, the people somehow seem to survive on so little.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
The most challenging aspect of the new culture for me has been getting business people to understand that when I pay for a service, I expect to get what I pay for in a timely manner. Example, ( I went to a local bank to open a checking account and I had to come back and forth four times to complete the process) ( my apartment lease includes TV internet and cable. The TV was a 30 year old TV that never worked, the cable only sometimes and the internet is much like waiting for a snail to travel one mile. I requested to have my lease reflect the fact that none of these services are being used due to the fact that the landlord removed the TV during my first week and I had to purchase my own, plus I had to purchase my own internet and cable to ensure that I have service. However, the landlord wants to stick to our original agreement even though he is not providing what is promised in the lease. These sorts of things are very common in Santo Domingo). Beware.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
No I did not.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
I am only able to survive here because I have enough cash to move if I want. Make sure that when you move here, you have at least $7,000.00 usd saved to fall back on and at least $2,500.00 usd a month income. Money is the great equalizer. With it you can call your own shots. Without enough you will become a victim of circumstance. Other than that, do not expect people here to render good customer service. You must expect that if you purchase a item from a store to be delivered, you better ask before giving the cashier your money to have your merchandise there at the counter and have your own truck to transport it to your location, or you may have to wait several weeks for a delivery. Learn to be very patient. To sum things up, Just don't ask for anything and you will not go through the frustration of people here doing things in their own time frame and not yours.
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