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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Exeter, UK

Oct 10, 2016

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A British "expat" in Exeter describes the culture shock experienced while settling into the UK after living in Canada and the U.S. for most of her life.

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?

Born in U.K. but lived in Canada and US most of my life. Brought up in a fairly British home... Mom was English so we had same food and customs.

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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 trouble with language

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

I knew there would be a little

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

Well, I have only been here less than 2 weeks So am just starting to realise distinct differences. Some I like a lot some are a bit frustrating at times. But just a matter of getting used to.....

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 am only new here so I have a little irritation at times over things like no storage, doing laundry. I bought a washer/dryer combo and it took all day to do 2 loads, but I'm sure I will get to know how to do it a better way. Found out a lot of appliances don't work even without converters and voltage regulators.

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.

A little irritated but mostly love nearly every thing else.

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

I find customer service outstanding, people are very helpful, love the diversity of people, great restaurants and shops...enjoying the weather... very hot in US where I lived. Lots to do here, love the history, theatre, arts etc.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

People are quite reserved and don't readily make eye contact and say hello... lots of simple everyday things to make tasks easier not available here. Going for coffee and getting free refills.

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

I don't think so yet

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

I think you need to focus on why you wanted to come here and all the positive things you really love about your new country.

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