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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

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

Abidjan

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?

i tried to study a bit before arriving but it turned out to be pretty useless. as soon as i arrived i started with a french course.

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

a bit

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

quite significant

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 did. the culture here is very very different and still a lot of things are driving me nuts. e.g. that i hardly found local professionals i can rely on. everything takes a lot of time and most people see me as a walking wallet.

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 used to be pretty depressed in the beginning and i also didn`t like going out on the streets much, as hardly anybody speaks english and many people shouted at me (mainly about being white). also as i said before, many things make me angry again and again...

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

most people turn out to be helpful, very friendly and very open with their opinions. it's a vivid and colourful culture. i like that there is city life (where you can almost live up to western standards) but also still very traditional ways of living in the villages. it`s interesting to get to know all the problems they have to develop and how much everything changed after the crisis.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

the slowliness and uneffectiveness. the fact that i never know if someone likes me because of my wallet or because of me as a person. the noise and that you can hardly walk on the streets without being bugged by someone.

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

i guess just try to be positive and openminded...

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