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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan

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Pavlodar, Kazakhstan

An expat in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan warns people preparing to make the move to understand your rights as a foreigner and be prepared for an anti-foreigner culture.

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

Pavlodar

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?

No. I do not speak the language. i am working on learning the languages now.

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

No, but I am now more aware of it having lived here.

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

Significant. 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?

Yes and no. I just learned by living here. The most dreadful thing is the anti foreigner culture that is manifest by the 'spy on your neighbor' mentality' that many citizens apparently possess. The other issue is the migration police power and the ease with which you can be deported or jailed.

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 learned to transform anger into frustration and from that into increased awareness.

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

People are friendly, but are still woefully anti foreigner, for the most part.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The anti foreigner culture of people in the nation and region.

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

None.

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

Know your rights as a foreign citizen. Read the laws of the country, they are available online. When you come into the nation, get the migration police stamp correctly done. Get your health and AIDS screening done -- things of that sort. This is crucial! If you do not do this, you may be fined, jailed, and deported.

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