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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Salalah, Oman

Submitted by shueshue

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?


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 didn't speak Arabic before I came here but the company offered some language training. Arabic is easier than I thought it would be once you get to learn the alphabet.

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

I was a bit worried about the position of the woman in Oman. Especially here in the south where things a quite conservative. I also wasn't looking forward to living in a country with little or no grass/ trees/ flowers etc.

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

I didn't like the fact that I had to wear long trousers and shirts when I first moved here. I was also shocked by their dangerous driving. Besides the above I had to get used to the fact that there is hardly any greenery here. Other than that Oman is very easy going.

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 went through the honeymoon phase initially. The weather was lovely and I was at the pool 3-4 times per week. Swimming, sunning, relaxing.

The irritation phase started after 1 week when I had a minor road accident due to the crazy driving of the Omani here who sometimes seem to have got their driving license with a packet of cornflakes.

I'm actually still stuck in both phases after having been here for 2 years.

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.

None really

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

I love the sophistication of the people here. Although they keep to themselves they are always friendly and hospitable. Most of them are just plain lovely.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Covering most parts of my body even when it's scorching hot. I also just cannot understand why women would agree to being in such a submissive role.

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

I ate a banana in front of a very hungry Omani in the middle of Ramadan. I was shocked when I found out that I'd totally forgotten about Ramadan but the Omani was very nice about it.

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

Go into anything you do with an open mind and be open to new things. Try not to be too critical about the other culture and always search for the positive things.

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Comments about this Report

Sep 28, 2011 15:19

This is very interesting. I am thinking of accepting a job offer in Salalah (teaching English at the College of Technology9 and wonder about the standard of accommodation in Salalah and the cost.

Oct 2, 2011 02:10

To answer your questions: - Standard of accommodation: This depends on your budget. For about OMR 400 you will probably get a 2-3 bedroom apartment that is relatively western-style. There are cheaper and more expensive options. Houses are large by western standards. If you're coming alone you might want to consider sharing accommodation. - Cost of living also depends on your needs. If you want Western products be prepared to spend more money than you would be doing at home. (assuming you're from Europe/ USA) If you buy your groceries at the market it's definitely cheap. Going out to dinner is also cheap by European standards. Petrol is dirt cheap. If you send me your e-mail address I can answer more questions if you have any. By the way, you don't pay any income tax here....

Jun 12, 2013 12:32

Very nice report, and somewhat similar to my experience in Oman, too.

Jun 7, 2014 13:52

I would like to know some things about Salalah - I wil relocate there alone and I am interested in a studio type. what can be the cost of furnished one, what is exactly the standard there for studio - bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom, or without kitchen, what is a minimum amount to cover normal living expenses over there. Thanks

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5 Tips For Living in Oman

Expats in Oman find a varied climate - sometimes pleasant and other times harsh - well-regarded international schools, and plenty of excellent restaurants to frequent.

Expats in Oman find a varied climate - sometimes pleasant and other times harsh - well-regarded international schools, and plenty of excellent restaurants to frequent....

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