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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Nha Trang, Vietnam

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Nha Trang, Vietnam

An Australian expat who moved to Nha Trang, Vietnam two months ago shares her experiences with culture shock and expat life in Vietnam.

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

Nha Trang

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 am helping locals with English speaking.

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

No

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

Fantastic to be in a different culture... cross cultural relationship with girlfriend is tricky.

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, I am going through those stages at present only after 2 month of living here. I am getting a little frustrated and angry at the slow, non-flexible way things are done here in government/banks etc.

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.

All of the above/nearly went home.

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

The people are wonderful...I have upmost respect for the women in this country.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Slow pace/home cooked food very salty.....cars and buses bullying in traffic.

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

Watch out for some of the expats. Some of them left their manners at home or didn't have any to start with. For example, not keeping appointments and not bothering to call.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Jan 6, 2016 10:10

Doesn't sound like she will last long. No effort to learn the language, wrongly attributing typical bullying behavior in the west to typical rules of road (ie, bigger vehicles get right of way), fails to understand different culture w/different ways of doing things, etc. After only 2mos and almost nothing but complaining like so many westerners coming to Vietnam.

ralphnhatrang
Feb 6, 2016 09:38

in reply to 'guest'6 Jan 2016 - The poster has replied honestly to questions asked of her, so that is not complaining. She has simply stated the facts. After 13 years of living in Nha Trang my biggest complaint -This is a complaint ! - was the sheer suicidal attitude of the local drivers. There are so many road deaths each year in VN that the government fudges the figures! Regarding the rudeness of foreigners, the biggest display of rudeness I've seen was a Russian walking down the street in his H-front underpants. Their embassy really should give them lesson in manners before they come here. Vietnamese food often IS salty. In fact, the WHO says Vietnamese use three to FIVE times the recommended daily intake of one teaspoon of salt. If the poster plans to stay a long time, it would be wise to try and learn some Vietnamese language.The Vietnamese people really do appreciate the fact you have tried (even if you do fail). Speaking Vietnamese will open many doors of friendship. One thing that I missed was reading English language books, which eventually did become available in a large reference collection of English reference books in the province library in Nha Trang. This may help her with her culture shock. The many foreign food restaurants in town help with the problem, too. It is wonderful to be able to get away from Vietnamese food from time to time. The weather has been its worse lately, so don't worry, it will quickly improve from now on. Good luck and enjoy Nha Trang.

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