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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Ambato, Ecuador

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

Ambato

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

Yes I received cross-cultural training/

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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 already spoke Spanish.

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

No I was not worried about the culture shock because I had done some semesters abroad in Costa Rica while in college.

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

It wasn't bad but then I again I already had some experience and training. However, you do experience frustration over things that you know would not happen in the US.

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?

There is a honeymoon stage when you try to embrace everything. Then there are times that you are irritated over the pace of things, and also sometimes angry. For the most part you just ease into the adjustment without fully realizing.

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.

There are times when you experience anger and depression as well as a feeling of isolation.

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

I appreciate the lack of stress and although it can be a source of frustration, the slower pace of things. You have time in Ecuador to stop and smell the flowers.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The most challenging thing is not to stick out like a "gringa"

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

I can't recall that I did although my Ecuadorean friends may tell tales. I have a few friends who made the embarazado and embarasoso mistake as well as trucha vs chucha.

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

I would say that before committing to a move that you need to experience it. It also helps to be able to vent to someone else who knows.

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