Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Castle in the Ukraine
One man tells about expat life in Mogliv-Podilskyi, Ukraine.
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?
Several family live overseas, I have traveled extensively, and my father is a pastor, so we had frequent missionaries at our house.
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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?
They tell me to learn Ukrainian, but only half the people speak that, they all speak Russian. I have tried learning, and do a little. But there is never a problem, as many, many speak enough English to get by.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Not in the least. I may have that in a few years...
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?
I was pretty isolated for 25 years, in the US, before coming here. Lots of interaction, I am constantly asked to sit down and have food or alcohol at the Cafe. I have learned; they want you to have some so YOU will pay for ALL they have ALL had at that table! I now go to the bar and get my own! But I don't mind buying them a pizza or a round, I just do not like being conned. I have also learned when drinking vodka, only drink about half or less of the shot. They want you to get plastered, stupid foreigner. This is what even some of THEM do, and some refuse to drink ANY alcohol, so you do NOT have to! When they tell you 'It is Russian tradition!' the truth is that it is Russian BS.
When things are done very poorly, they will always tell you 'Hey, it's Ukraine!' I always tell them, 'Don't give me that! Ukraine feeds Europe, they have excellent wood and precious metals. The only thing wrong is that the USSR stomped on you so long, you have lost a desire to do well. Hey! This is UKRAINE! Do it right!
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 am just glad I have escaped the coming revolution against the communists/fascists.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
They are all very supportive of each other, and you if you will participate. And now that I am running low on cash, sans SSDI, they are trying to help some. And they all know not to trust the government, and that the police are actually crooks. In America, most people still actually think the cops are the ' Bgood guys'.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Courting a woman to marry, and not just for her to get 'stuff' from you. Be vewy vewy cawful.
More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Ukraine