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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Mar 28, 2016

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Here's a short expat report about culture shock in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It describes some of the more challenging aspects of every day life from the perspective of a woman who had a hard time making it through the process of cultural adjustment.

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

Cabo San Lucas

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 speak some Spanish... It was helpful. I knew spanish before I went.

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

I was not worried.

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

It was considerable. I did not try to assimilate. I was anxious to venture out.

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 experienced all except the cultural adjustment. I never fully accepted the ways that were so different from U.S.

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 was homesick for family and culture. I was depressed and grumpy and bored.

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

Beauty of area mountains and beaches. Spanish language and music. Colorful.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Delays in acquiring services, internet and repairs in apartment. Dust and heavy air. Interruptions in water and power. Language. Uneven, broken sidewalks.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Cant recall any.

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

It does get easier but it will never be the same as back home. Going to a new culture is easier for some people than others. Outgoing folks may have easier time than shyer ones. Being comfortable meeting new people is a big advantage in acclimating.

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