American expats who came to the U.S. early in life and then returning to spend time in their native countries is absolutely fascinating to me. There is so much going on culturally both internally and externally that it must be so enriching and confusing at the same time. What could be more fun?
Here is a GREAT expat culture shock report from an expatriate who moved to the U.S. from Colombia and then returned to South America as an American expat.
Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?
Yes I did. Originally I was born in Colombia, but I left in 2001 to the U.S. So I was somewhat aware of my own culture. I came back to Colombia in 2008, and it was, shock.
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?
Yes I’m fluent in both Spanish and English, When I moved to the U.S I was very young, so English became my first language as time went on. When I returned to Colombia I didn’t think the language barrier was going to be a problem. To my surprise, I was told my Spanish was awkward, and this was of course said by the locals or family members. I think the reason was that since I think in English, I translate it in Spanish…which isn’t always accurate.
Read the full Colombia Expat Culture Shock Report, and if you would like to share your culture shock experiences, expats all over the world will read about your experiences. Other expats will follow in your footsteps and need all the help they can get! Read more reports in our Expat Reports section.