Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Oct 30, 2017
An expat in Medellin talks about adapting to the manana way of life, starting a real estate business in Colombia and the friendly Colombians.
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?
Moving to Colombia Soon?
ExpatExchange's partner, Experts In Moving, offers you a simple and hassle free solution to plan your move. You'll get up to 5 FREE quotes from trusted international movers. Takes 1 minute! No obligation. Save up to 40%. Only qualified and professional movers. Get your quotes now!
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 planned to take Spanish lessons as soon as I would arrive. My Duolingo app is very helpful.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Not really, I like to take things as they come.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Well... I must say I am not used to the manana-thing and the startup and registering of my businesses went painstaking slow due to the extreme level of bureaucracy, then some real estate agencies tried to scam me for over 50 million pesos so I decided to register my own agency to be able to start the apartment rental business that I had plans for.
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 a good month I almost decided to leave because a lot of Colombians gave me the feeling that they see a Gringo as some sort of money-for-the-taking-possibility... Later, I realised that my own behaviour caused most of it. Waving with money is not cool over here.
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.
After two months I finally started to understand the whole tranquilo/manana-thing that caused me so many frustrations, going against the grain is not the way to go... Learning to speak Spanish is also really helpful if you want to find your way over here ;-)
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
Lots of really friendly people in Colombia, If you are lost you must not be surprised if someone escorts you for half an hour to take you where you wanted to go.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Finding a balanced social network can be difficult when you only hang with the Gringos.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Beeing blunt-honest like people in my country is NOT the way to go!! ;-)
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Go with the flow!
An Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Medellin, Colombia
An couple who decided to leave the troubles of the US behind and retire in Medellin, Colombia hasn't looked back. They love living near family in Colombia and enjoy the friendly Colombians, low cost of health insurance and beautiful weather and lush countryside.
An Expat Talks about Moving to Cartago, Colombia
An expat in Cartago, Colombia has found a little bit of heaven living in Colombia. He appreciates the much lower cost of living and admits he lives like a king in Colombia for $2,000 a month. He advises others moving to Colombia to bring only the necessities and buy furniture there.
Expats in Colombia: Pros and Cons of Living in Colombia
Expats in Colombia discuss the pros and cons of living in Colombia. From the Colombian people to driving to taxes and more. As challenging as it can be, expats in Colombia clearly find that there is a lot to love about a country that is a surprising expat hot spot.
12 Things to Know Before Moving to Colombia
With its bustling cities, beautiful beaches and friendly Colombians, Colombia is an increasingly popular destination for expats of all ages. Expats in Colombia offer insightful tips for those moving to Colombia.