Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
An expat in the Ivory Coast has found the locals to be very unfriendly. She has lived abroad for 22 years and feels that the Ivory Coast is the most difficult place that she has lived.
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?
Was told that French is the official language but was not told that they are so hostile and unfriendly to non-French speakers.
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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 had learned the language but it was not enough so did another course. It is not difficult to manage anymore but the people are arrogant, can be hostile and do not know how to apologise for any mistakes they make..
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Not really- as I have moved and lived in different countries- however having said that had no idea that Anglophone countries are so different to Francophone. Ivory Coast is particularly strange- this is not the case in Senegal- they are friendly.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Very significant- for example the housing standards are very poor compared to other expat locations. The place is shabby and even a lot slower than even neigbouring Ghana
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?
Difficult to settle here- the worst location in my 22 years of living overseas.
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.
Extreme irritation and anger at the arrogance of the local people. Do not know how to apologise- are extremely lazy and think they are French when they are not. Adopted all the lazy habits and quick to blame others. Difficult and unfriendly people.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
It's okay to take an evening walk and have met some new and nice expats- international communities. No local friends at all.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Dealing with the locals and listening to their nonsense- including from maids and drivers- the attitude of the locals at all levels is the biggest issue especially when compared to Anglophone Africa- that is way progressive and a lot more respectful and less lazy.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Please think very carefully before moving- if you are good in French it is okay but still a challenge. Even the French have issues dealing with them so one can imagine how it is for someone who is not very comfortable in French. The Ivorions speaks a strange sort of French- grammatical errors and a heavy accent.
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