Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Bydgoszcz, Poland
An expat, who has lived in Bydgoszcz, Poland for 10 years, has really enjoyed watching the area develop. He finds the language and driving conditions a challenge.
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?
No but had visited many times before
Moving to Poland 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 learned the language a bit before and then intensely after I moved.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
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 just entered a stage of fascination which still has not worn off completely after 10 years.
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 became much more relaxed and less worried about life in general.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
It's great to watch things developing here that we take for granted in England.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
The language is still after 10 years one of the most difficult aspects and the standard of driving although a lot better is a major problem.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Many times, usually language related. Whilst at a prestigious Dinner sat next to the Bishop of the Kujavia Pomorski region I described the dish we were eating as 'Siuper Duper' to him. There was a stunned silence throughout the dinning room as I had called the dish 'Big Arse'. I was severely reprimanded later by the people who had invited me. Eventually they did see the funny side though.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
My best advice is to avoid other expats and learn the language. Do not be lazy and hang around with English speakers. If you want to meet interesting people try teaching 'business English' part time at evenings and weekends. It earns some money and it gets you out and about.
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