Home Belize Forum Belize Guide Belize Resources Belize Real Estate International Jobs
Belize
Resources
City Guides
AGS Worldwide Movers
Join Sign In
AAGS Worldwide Movers

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Belmopan, Belize

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

Belmopan

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

No, I did not receive any cross-cultural training for my move to Belmopan (fall of 2009).

Expat Health Insurance

Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Sponsored by CIGNA.

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?

Well, in Belize and particularly in the administrative and political capital of Belmopan, the language is English. So, I did feel quite comfortable with the idea of moving there.

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

I was not too much worried or concerned about culture shock before I moved to Belmopan. I had read a lot on the Internet about the city, its civil servants atmosphere, its central park near the public market.

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

The culture shock was huge. Yes, they speak English and so it was easy to communicate and express my needs.

I had planned to stay for a week at the most in a small hotel to save money and even made my reservations 4 days ahead my flight.

But, what I did not suspect was the customs and traditions which I discovered are QUITE different: No Large food supermarket like back home, literally No sidewalks on streets, No real taxi service or company to call. Well, you get the idea: all the little comfort things one takes for granted in a country like Canada were absent there.

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?

No, I did not go through the honeymoon phase as I went straight to the irritation-to-anger stage the first day as it was difficult to get a taxi, and difficult to find a real estate broker or a daily newspaper with classified for apts or houses to rent. Real estate people there do not advertise their services in newspapers nor do houses or apts for rent carry such a sign. For rental you need to ask people on the streets or at public places if they knew of places for rent.

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.

Yes, I did become angry at a country or rather a Capital city where real estate business people (brokers, etc) do not advertise or carry signs in front of homes for sale or rent.

The lack of a daily paper was revolting to me as, after all, this was a Capital city.

On top of it, I had to quickly buy a cellular phone to stay in contact with possible leads. And the cheapest one came from the Government owned Telecommunications company for fifty dollars U.S.

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

What I did appreciate most: of course, the cheap price of buying fruits and vegetables at the public market, of eating dinner or lunch for less than 6 or 7 dollars. Professional services, such as dentistry work came at 75% less than at home in Canada.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The most challenging aspects of the new culture:

1) the absence of the concept of customer service: for example, even a glass of water is charged in a restaurant, mostly Chinese controlled

2) the necessity of renting or buying a car as taxi service in the evening and at night is not there

3)the concept of unexposed Sewers as sewers do not have cover

4)the rarity of night life: bars, coffee places

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

Losing patience at the only 3 international banks when the Teller Machine was out of service for some malfunctioning and I needed to take out some money to go out and eat.

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

Even when you are going to a country where your country tongue is spoken, don't think it is going to be a cinch.

There are customs and traditions, behavior that are different and standards do differ.

Be prepared to adjust your standards to a lower level, be prepared not to find the services you take for granted back home : taxi service on a phone call, fast food delivery even past midnight.

Read Next

Retirement-In-CorozalAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Corozal, Belize

A retiree in Corozal, Belize chose Corozal for retirement because he had a friend with property there, wanted a lower cost of living and tropical climate. The most rewarding aspects of expat life in Belize have been the long-lasting friendships he and his wife have made, living in a different culture and enjoying a new cuisine.

Retirement-In-Belize-CityAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Belize City, Belize

Gillian and her husband retired to Belize City, Belize from England and are loving life there. They are active in wildlife conservation and busier than ever. How many people have had two types of endangered species In their car? They have helped capture and transport an injured orphaned baby manatee to rehab - and facilitated the handover of captive howler monkeys to rehab.

Moving-To-CorozalAn Expat Talks about Moving to Corozal, Belize

An expat who originally moved to Ambergris Caye decided to move to the mainland after the AC became overpopulated and prices on the island rose dramatically. He moved to the Corozal area and appreciates the lower cost of living there.

AGS Worldwide Movers

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.

Comments about this Report

guest
Oct 4, 2010 03:39

I was hoping to learn from some living there the day to day life of the actual person.

guest
Mar 1, 2011 09:59

I don't think this person is telling it all as you know when you go to a new place you need to adjust your self so you can be comfortable I have been to Belize and my experience was not like his I strongly think he is overstating things, I also used the information I receive from http://blog.spaceja.com/real-estate-in-belize-buying-property-in-belize/ to help me with my stays. its was well worth it.

guest
Jun 1, 2011 08:54

I have lived in 27 US States,a small fishing village in Yucatan 3 yrs, small farm village in centeral Mexico 3 yrs, Germany 5 yrs, and I have found that the Canadian expats seem to have an attitude of entitlement. If they think their country is so darn good then go back there and quit complaining! If you want to live in, and I use this term tounge in cheek " third world country" so you can reap the benifts of bieng in the "upper class" how can you expect Provincial quality infrastructure? And you wonder why expats are sometimes looked upon as cockroaches? They swoop in with all their money and entititled attitudes and treat the locals like shit on their shoes with their noses all wrinkled.NO one is better than another, life can be safer, more comfortable depending on your income and station in life, but if you make a decision to take residence in another country PLEASE don't bash the way the "locals" live. And please go for at least two weeks to the area you are interested in, check it out I mean really...not the hotel restaurant, go to the market, go to the town square, go to the church. Talk to the people. ask questions, SEE how people live and relate. Then go home and think about it and see if YOU could fit in to THAT way of life. If not please do us all a favor and move somewhere else! If you want cheep dental care go get it done and then go home.

guest
Nov 14, 2012 11:37

I am a military brat. When we [as dependents] went overseas were required to take a course on "How not be an Ugly American". It appears there is no such course in Canada. We live in Belize and have adjusted with no problems. All countries are different than your home country. You need to realize and accept the differences; and then adjust to your situation. It is not hard, and living in a peaceful foreign country should, and can always be enjoyable. We enjoy Belize and all it has to offer. I would recommend trying not to be an Ugly Canadian - adjust, accept, and enjoy.

guest
Apr 18, 2013 21:45

I have read this article twice and feel compelled to respond. I am also Canadian and my husband and I have plans to retire to Belize in 5 years. What is astounding to me is that all of these complaints could have been easily researched on the Internet. I live in a small town with a population of 8,000 in British Columbia. We have a weekly paper, and no taxi service to speak of. Unfortunately, we have fast food but there are no deliveries for take-out 24/7. Somehow we manage just fine. I don't want people to generalize and think that all Canadians want to have "a Canadian lifestyle" in a foreign country. Some of us look forward to a more simple, less stressful way of life. I know we do!

dominic135
Aug 22, 2015 17:42

Wow! I'm from the US and I'm always very sensitive about being seen as "the ugly American"! I've been all over Canada, (grew up 6 miles from the border) and have always found Canadians to be friendly and compassionate. OK, I've been snubbed in Montreal but once they know you are American, they warm up. (Seems to be some angst toward English speaking Canadians) This is the first I've heard about "ugly Canadians"!

International Moving Companies

Moving to Belize? Get a moving quote today from our partner, Crown Relocations.
Get a Quote

Top 5 Reasons Expats Move to Central America

From lower cost of living to affordable healthcare and beachfront living, expats discuss the top reasons they moved to Central America.
From lower cost of living to affordable healthcare and beachfront living, expats discuss the top reasons they moved to Central America....

10 Tips for Living in Belize

Whether you are living in Belize or considering a move to Belize, this article offers a glimpse at some of the tremendously helpful advice that expats share on Expat Exchange's Belize forum and in our expat reports.

Whether you are living in Belize or considering a move to Belize, this article offers a glimpse at some of the tremendously helpful advice that expats share on Expat Exchange's Belize forum and in our...

5 Great Places to Retire in Central America

Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and friendly people.

Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and fr...

Expat Belize: 5 Great Places to Live in Belize

If you're thinking about moving to Belize, we have 5 great places to recommend based upon the experiences of expats living in Belize.

If you're thinking about moving to Belize, we have 5 great places to recommend based upon the experiences of expats living in Belize. ...

Retirement-In-CorozalAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Corozal, Belize

A retiree in Corozal, Belize chose Corozal for retirement because he had a friend with property there, wanted a lower cost of living and tropical climate. The most rewarding aspects of expat life in Belize have been the long-lasting friendships he and his wife have made, living in a different culture and enjoying a new cuisine.

A retiree in Corozal, Belize chose Corozal for retirement because he had a friend with property there, wanted a lower cost of living and tropical climate. The most rewarding aspects of expat life in ...

Moving-To-CorozalAn Expat Talks about Moving to Corozal, Belize

An expat who originally moved to Ambergris Caye decided to move to the mainland after the AC became overpopulated and prices on the island rose dramatically. He moved to the Corozal area and appreciates the lower cost of living there.

An expat who originally moved to Ambergris Caye decided to move to the mainland after the AC became overpopulated and prices on the island rose dramatically. He moved to the Corozal area and apprecia...

Belize Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2018 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal