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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Barcelona, Spain

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Barcelona

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No

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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?

Yes. I learned it many years before but had not used it in a very long tome. It is very useful to get a dictionary with pictures of every day words.

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

No

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

I had expected handy men and workers to be more customer service oriented. Everything takes a lot longer to do here but people don't seem to be bent out of shape about it.

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?

Yes, I feel like I went through these changes and I expect to go through them again when I move to a new place.

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.

Until one gets their own group of friends it is a very lonely time. Having moved prior, I knew that the most important thing for me was to find friends ASAP. So I joined women's groups and volunteered at school. That helped a lot as there were many people in the same boat as me.

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

Some of the things that frustrated me are now what I appreciate. I enjoy the conversation I have with the people at the fruit store or the post office while I am waiting in line. I like the reliance on our own two feet and not using the car. I appreciate that the family is VERY important and everyone takes off Sunday to spend time with them.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Dealing with governmental bureaus, immigration, visas etc.

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

Let's just say, don't assume you are the only ones who speak English.

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

Take your time, make new friends and enjoy the moment!

Cigna International Health Insurance

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Comments about this Report

RubyCalle
Sep 14, 2012 14:04

I am very interested how the expat found the "woman's group" in the town there were in? Was it a Spanish woman's group or an American woman's group. Is there any suggestions for finding these kinds of groups in different cities?

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