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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?


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

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

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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Comments about this Report

Sep 13, 2011 03:31

I find it totally the opposite. I go out whenever I want to and anywhere I want to with ease and comfort. I wear make up everyday. We go to parks, mountains and the beaches frequently and have friends over mixing with men and women talking. Weddings are segregated yes but men and women eat lunch and dinner out together, even not married. Are you sure you are living in Algeria? I have been here 5 years, also married to an Algerian man and have had no probelms whatsoever and I don't live in Algiers where it is much more liberal.

Sep 13, 2011 13:46

Sorry I dont mean to sound negitive about algeria, I was living in London before I came here with a great career and social life so its been hard to adjust here. Yes men and women go out for lunch and dinner, coffee &cake, Ice cream and for family days out but every party I have been to (celebrate the birth of a baby, engagements, weddings and large family gatherings)have all be segregated. We have just moved to hydra which is very modern for algeria there are lots of women here wearing make up and dressing nice so its easier, in the past we lived near Mohamadia I would get men trying to talk to me if I was out on my own.Cars would slow down and open their window even when I was with my baby daughter! Some men look like they have never seen a women before, they do it to algerian women too, have learnt to shout Kilb at them! Its great if you have had a different experience here and found an active social life, please share your secrets, what area do you live in? I know quite a few other people having the same Culture shock as me!! Be nice to hear back from you :)

Jan 18, 2012 06:28

Thank you for that, reminds me of all or at least some of the reasons why I don't want to go back! Thanks for sharing and mostly good advice, Alhamdulillah.

Jun 26, 2012 11:57

hi i agree with all you told, i visit algeria twice a year to see my husband, it is very boring for women as i stay in the mountains near tasmalt wilaya of bouira. to try to get info on anything is impossible really, the country is so beautiful but living is very hard unless you have money, work is also hard to get for foriegn women. having said this i love the people in general they are family orientated and live a simple life which makes me look at our western culture and the greed and bad manners we have here, if i could find work i would move tomorrow just for the family side and the beauty.i know algeria well now and would recommend bejaia to. when i return to the uk i feel i am visiting here and that algeria is my home even though i have a good job etc here. good luck to all of you in your lifes in algeria because whatever hardships you face it is worth it to live in such a beautiful country with kind people who care about each other, we dont have that luxury in the modern world, and its a shame.

Aug 9, 2012 14:33

hello everybody... wonderful info reader ....thanks hope to marry algerian man i like this country ..i really want to visit in algeria for my future husband thanks faithfully yours zosweet ..nchallah

Mar 20, 2014 12:14

My husband is algerian, I lived with my inlaws for the first month in algeria, now I have been living here for almost 6 months, and still deeply depressed due to culture shock! I should say I am lucky that I married to a nice and very different algerian man compare to most of other algerian.

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