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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Hamburg, Germany

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

Hamburg

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

Yes, I was enrolled in a cultural orientation course upon my arrival

Expats living in Germany interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Germany interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, 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?

I studied German for two years before moving here, and now I'm learning more and more every day

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

No

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

At first not bad, but then after about a month it really started to set in.

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've been through all of these stages, currently in the cultural adjustment stage, but some times still showing the irritation-to-anger 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 see alcohol in a much different way, since it's a major part of the culture here, and not in the US it was a big change, but I no longer see it as such a negative thing.

I no longer get frustrated as easily when I can't do something 100% correct.

I do however get angrier sometimes when I notice things are different than at home.

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

It's very laid back and fun, and you always know exactly who your friends are.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Becoming friends with people is seemingly difficult. Also mannerisms and conversation topics are much different and difficult to adjust to.

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

Don't let culture shock get you down, you'll over come it eventually, and when you do you'll truly see the culture in a new and amazing way!

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Comments about this Report

guest
Jan 11, 2011 17:58

Okay, I'll share a cultural tidbit I learned about Germany just TODAY, though I have lived here in Deutschland quite a few years! Here's the scenario: I said to my friend "I want to take a birthday present to my neighbor who will be 92 years old eight days from now. Shall we walk to her house now?" My friend looked absolutely horrified! "Her birthday is EIGHT days away?? You MUST NOT take her a present early! Elderly people consider it BAD LUCK to receive a present early -- whereas young people wouldn't mind!" replied my friend. How's that for a cultural tidbit??

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