Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Jun 20, 2016
An expat in Raanana, Israel returned to Israel 59 years after living there for his gap year. He appreciates the local culture and people, because they are very family oriented, intelligent and open.
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?
Very limited specific training
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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?
Hebrew is the language used in Israel. I had good knowledge before I came because I lived here in my Gap year (59 years ago). Took a 6 month immersion course
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Limited because of many visits and a good number of Israeli friends.
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?
After 25 years, I still am the the honeymoon stage.
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 am an optimist and that has served me well. One guiding philosophy has been to never expect Israel to be the USA or even NY.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
Warmth of family and friends. Openness. Large number of smart people. A feeling of being home after 2000 years. Love of children. A feeling that we are all relatives.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Sometimes a bit too much intimacy.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Some founded out language situations. Right after we arrived we purchased a Volvo. At that time it was viewed as the smart person car. Here it was viewed (25 years ago) as being like a Cadillac in a neighborhood of Chevrolets.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Roll with the punches. If this is a lifetime commitment think of it as a marriage not a one night stand.
If it is a temporary move, savor the experience and do not be judgmental.
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