Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
A mom who relocated to Gurgaon, India talks about the challenges of living in Gurgaon. She finds that there's a lack out outdoor space to walk and play. Plus, numerous locals on the street have picked up and touched her 4 year old daughter without permission, which has increased her and her daughter's anxiety when out in public. She now finds herself swatting away people on the street.
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?
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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?
I did not learn the language though I can understand and speak some Hindi now.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
As a female, I was worried for my safety.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
People touching or picking up my 4 year old daughter without asking her or I if it is okay. Perhaps it is cultural, however I do not see people doing it to small Indian children. My child has become frightened and I have become more persistent in swatting away hands.
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?
Anger stage, yes and I still harbour resentment.
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 find that I am more sedentary due to the lack of outside spaces to walk and play. I find that my anxiety levels are very high because my daughter is afraid she will be assaulted when we leave the house.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
The people are generally nice, accepting and patient.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Again, the unwanted touching of my child.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
I am sure I did, however it may have gone over my head.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Stand tall, remember who you are and where you are from, be proud. It's ok if you don't understand what you are supposed to do in different situations, do your best and maybe laugh about it later.
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