Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
A heavily experienced expat gives her take on settling into expat life in Mendoza, Argentina. Can you imagine living in 30 places over the course of 30 years? She can... she's done it!
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. Only some Spanish intensive lessons for 7 days prior.
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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?
Yes. I'm learning the language everyday. I meet with two locals once a week for just 3 weeks. I did have a tutor for 8 weeks, and I meet with an expat language Exxon/GE group 2-4 times a month.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
No, I have moved a lot. This is my 30th home in 37 years of marriage because of my husband's profession.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Moderately big because of the hazards of a big city and living an urban lifestyle for the first time.
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, as with all moves, there is a culture shock that is similar to the phases of death... in my opinion.
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.
Sadness....I had to be more mindful with the negative people I was hanging with or talking on the phone with. Now I only give them up to 30 minutes... life is better;)
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
The love and care of the Mendocinos, the warmth of strangers, the food, the faires, the eventos, the family atmosphere.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Siesta and adjusting my life to this time table.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
I used translate for I would like to hook up with you...i.e. Meet with you. I needed the word hook up. When I used it, my friend said who do you want to f&$@.....eeek wrong word!!! So be careful of translate app.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Jump in, embrace, have a kind heart, send out love and it will come back. Be wary and learn and absorb. If you're unhappy get more involved! I went back to the states for 4 weeks and then when I came back I joined the local gym, biked more and joined a volleyball team??
More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Argentina