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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Brisbane, Australia

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Brisbane, Australia

An expat in Brisbane confesses that she is stuck in the rejection stage of culture shock. She has found the locals to be unwelcoming and is having a difficult time getting out and meeting people.

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

Brisbane

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

No

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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?

n/a

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

A little. I expected resources to be different and for the cost of living to be higher.

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

very significant

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?

All of the above except the cultural adjustment phase, I seem to be stuck in rejection.

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.

Depressed, anxious, increased eating, severe homesickness. Not wanting to go outside and meet people.

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

The nature! Beautiful flowers everywhere, butterflies, birds, exotic wildlife, pools, sunny days, botanical gardens, good coffee. a gorgeous country!

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The people. Not nearly as friendly as their reputation implies. I have found the majority of people in Brisbane to be rude, superficial, and occasionally nasty. Very close minded and prejudiced. There seems to be a general feeling of apathy towards strangers. People don't help each other out and don't seem to care. Lack of manners. Poor sense of community.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Not that I know of.

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

Not so far.

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Comments about this Report

jwana
Dec 31, 2013 00:57

Hi there Thanks for your posting & so sorry to hear that you're feeling this way about living in Ozland. I'm an Aussie (from Adelaide) but have travelled widely and lived in different parts of Australia as well as overseas (China, UK & east Africa) so feel I have some ability to comment on the Australian psyche & behaviour. In fact, it's one of the reasons I spend quite a bit of time away from Australia! Unfortunately, many people arrive in Australia thinking people will interact in the friendly way as seen on 'Home & Away' or 'Neighbours' - sadly this is not the case! Also, Brisbane and Qld in general is probably one of the most conservative & racist regions that you could live in. If you are a more genteel soul with an open mind and perhaps not so conservative views I would suggest you consider moving to Melbourne & living in one of the not too far out of the city suburbs (e.g. Brunswick, St Kilda etc). If this isn't possible, the only way to survive is to join groups in Brisbane that reflect your own social views - they do exist but may require some digging! Good luck & feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss this further or just want to vent! Best wishes Jwana

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