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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Salmiya, Kuwait

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

Salmiya

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

None

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Need health insurance in Kuwait? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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, I am not planning to learn Arabic.

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?

It was a typical move in the beginning - standard stages.

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.

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

Values that were in place many years ago.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The university aged people whom I teach are materialistic and often without signs of human caring.

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

I teach English and in a conversation class I asked a married student how he met his wife. There was a great deal of confusion among the class and then someone explained that he, like everyone else, married his first cousin. I had no idea.

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

I believe that we take our own culture and beliefs with us and some are so deeply ingrained that we will never be able to tolerate a culture that acts contrary to that belief. We may come to understand another the difference, but certain beliefs are so strong that tolerating less is impossible. Kuwait is losing its compassion for other human beings. I cannot bear that behavior for love nor money.

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