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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Sydney, Australia

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

Sydney

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

Not for this move. I have had cross cultural training in a work training course

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Expats living in Australia 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?

no applicable

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

no - had been there twice before

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

significant - both in the workplace and in general

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 did indeed have the honeymoon phase. I probably am still partially in the irritation stage- I view myself as putting up with the culture, laughing about it with other ex pats and feeling very happy to be from the US in a way I never have before.

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 find sometimes I would just get very easily upset and cranky for no good reason. I actually saw the same things starting to happen to an expat who has gone home and see them starting to happen to a new expat.

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

The weather is awesome ( even if Australians complain about it all the time). Great beaches, love the good public transportation. Great cultural opportunities,

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

It it pretty superficial as others have noted. I find many Australians seem to have bit of a chip on their shoulder on many topics. It is very hard here to say what you really feel - you have to be really careful. It is like noone wants to know that something is wrong or not working. Workplace culture - as an American friedn of mine says - it is "back to the 80s' for women - I too feel like I am in a work place of 1986 or so - very sexist - really unbelievable. Very few married professional women - seems like a much higher percentage of them stay home with their kids maybe that is part of the issue.

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

Well I did once after being asked for feedback told an Australian what I really thought. .....They just can't handle the truth - so I have generally stayed away from that.

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

Coming here has been a great experience. I 'm learning to live with the cultural issues. but will i move here permanently - no - but that was never my intent.

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