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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Algiers, Algeria

Submitted by helen123

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

Algiers

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

No - not really applicable... moved due to husbands uk visa situation

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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?

I have picked up some arabic words, really want to learn french as most people here speak both (educated people) Older people tend to speak arabic/berber if applicable

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

Yea but a little niave to what I would expect

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

Big culture shock!! Women and men do not socialise together generally. If you are in someones house with your husband the men will go to one room and the women and kids in an other room.

The standard of living that some people endure, such as 3 or 4 people sleeping on mattresses in one room. Some women just stay at home cook, clean and shop for cooking and cleaning, some may not go out for days at a time. The lack of interest in child development... no mums and toddlers, not a lot in the way of acitvities for family days out. Depending on where you live it might not be exceptable for you to wear make up and nice clothes on a daily basis or for you to go out past the corner shop on your own ( without a car).

The mentality of some people.

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?

Yes definatley rhe irritation to anger stage with the driving standards and general lack of interest in safety. Also strangers think its ok to tell you things like your child needs a coat or a hat or extra blanket. Very annoying.

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 definitely increased what I was eating though boredom. Put a stone on weight on in 6 months - stuck at home too much!!

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

Learning that I am so lucky to have the things I have. Not wasting food. Being kinder to people and not being so selfish.

Taking on board that in society women and men each have a role and this is very important for marriage ( i was such an independant feminist in the past...)

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Lack of safety ie electrics, windons on 6th floor that fully open, wires coming out of plug sockets and connecting to street electric viva wires from your window. The metality of the middle aged me here... will ingore women, cut you up on the road then beep at you like its your fault! The lack of children groups and support for parents. How close family life is.

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

Act like the most innocent thing in front of your inlaws, high neckline, very conservative dressing and talk. Do not raise your voice in public or argue with your husband infront of family... sounds tough but people here love talking about any sort of drama!! Watch your things, people tend to steal here especially make and gold!! In general people are nice but like anywhere you get the bad ones!!

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