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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Vientiane, Laos

Submitted by stumpy

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

Vientiane

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

No. Bought a Lonely Planet book to help me.

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 the language and am still learning as I go.

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

No as I have lived and worked in developing countries most of my life.

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

Not too daunting at all.

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?

It affects different people in different ways so I did not notice myself going through any definite stages.

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 was a little frustrated initially with not being able to learn the language quickly enough so that I could make myself understood.

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

Laid back friendly people. Appreciative of anything you do for them. Respectful of elders.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Getting set up visa wise and continuing learning process of the culture and language.

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

Nothing springs to mind

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

Best to learn as much about your new country before heading out.

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