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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Madrid, Spain

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


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

So, so.

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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'm a native Spanish speaker.

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

Yes! Many people warned me. Negative and positive....

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

A big one! Just because you think you speak Spanish doesn't mean that you're easily welcome. The majority of people starting in the airport don't look at you in the eye and you feel they are not responsive to your questions......

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?

I guess I never passed the irritation stage.....

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 kind of frustrated with how slow everything seem to me. Groceries stores opened at 10:00 am. If I needed something in the afternoon, I'd had to wait until they open after the nap....... Around 5:00 pm.... Long waiting lines in any government office.... Only one person giving forms and answering questions of any type... You won't hear thanks from waiters, most of the time.... Should I continue......

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

History.... And the seniors who had a lot to say about the past and the present.....

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Understand their ways..... Just because is an industrialized country doesn't mean USA....

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

Thank God no! But my daughter, who is very polite, provoke a few laughs for using to much "please" and "thanks".

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

Don't feel offended if they don't say good morning or look at you in the eye or if they laugh about you for saying something incorrect. I guess for them all this things are normal..... And don't talk about politics if they know you're American...... They'll eat you alive.......

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