Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
An expat in Bled, Slovenia offers her perspective on living as an American in another country, and what she admires about the culture there. Good transportation, food and wine are a few of the amenities she's enjoying as an expat in Slovenia.
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?
Well, if you count having Slovenian grandparents as cross cultural training, then yes...
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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 am planning to learn Slovenian. Happily almost everyone I have encountered so far speaks some English and most everything else can be accomplished with international sign language
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Yes, moving to a country which most people have never heard of and can't find on a map is slightly discomfiting.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Not much as I've moved to other countries before.
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'm still in the honeymoon phase. I'll update this later.
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 find that my concept of time is much better here. I am often in "flow" with the activities here that interest me.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
No crime, great accessibility to other countries via train, good food, good wine. No traffic. Merchants operate on the honor system. Big Bang which is the electronics store, trusts you to walk your new electronic item to the front register on the floor below. Did I mention no guns, no crime.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
There is also a bit of nihilism here on the part of population who longs for the good old days with Tito and who are paid very poorly for the most part, even the professionals.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Frequently, I can't hear what someone is trying to tell me in Slovenian/English. "There is a disabled beagle on the A1 between Koper and Ljubljana."
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Be a nice, humble American. We are so loud by comparison to other people.
More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Slovenia