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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Guatemala City, Guatemala


The National Palace in Guatemala City, Guatemala

My biggest problem was understanding that I was no longer in the U.S. and had to accept the way things were done in Guatemala or leave. That took at least two to three years of banging my head against the wall before I accepted that things run differently here.

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

Guatemala City

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

I did not receive any training about cross-culture. I arrived in Guatemala knowing just one person in the entire country and not knowing any Spanish.

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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?

When I arrived I did not speak Spanish, but after 20 years I speak it fluently. I use Spanish 90% of the time and English the other 10%.

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

No, I moved to Guatemala to open a publishing company for tourism magazines and was concerned about the culture shock.

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Let the Adventure Begin! E-Newsletter

Let the Adventure Begin! is our premium weekly relocation newsletter that guides you step-by-step through your international move. The weekly newsletter begins 8 months before your move and runs through your first 4 months abroad. For US $29.99, you'll receive an e-mail on Wednesday with tips and advice tailored to where you are in the relocation and settling-in process.

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

My biggest problem was understanding that I was no longer in the U.S. and had to accept the way things were done in Guatemala or leave. That took at least two to three years of banging my head against the wall before I accepted that things run differently here.

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, I was angry often at myself and the way things ran in the country. I never entered a rejection of the culture stage, but went from anger straight to the adjustment stage.

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

People, traditions, customs, holidays.

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

Do not try to impose your customs or culture on people here. Respect the culture and the customs since you are and always will be an outsider.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

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Expats Guatemala CityExpats in Guatemala City

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Guatemala City.

Guatemala Index Guatemala City Index
An index of all of our site's Guatemala City information.

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Expats in Guatemala City offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Guatemala City.

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Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Guatemala on our Guatemala forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Guatemala Network Contribute
Help others in Guatemala by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Guatemala.

Expat Healthcare Advice in GuatemalaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Guatemala.

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Expats share their favorite places to live in Guatemala - from Antigua to Lake Atitlan to Xela and more.

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Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Guatemala.

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Expats that move to Guatemala do so to enjoy a beautiful country where the cost of living can be dramatically different than the rest of the world. However, it's important to understand all of the details of living in Guatemala before moving there.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats Guatemala CityExpats in Guatemala City

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Guatemala City.

Guatemala Index Guatemala City Index
An index of all of our site's Guatemala City information.

Expat Healthcare Advice in Guatemala CityHealthcare & Health Insurance in Guatemala City

Expats in Guatemala City offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Guatemala City.

Guatemala Forum Guatemala Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Guatemala on our Guatemala forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Guatemala Network Contribute
Help others in Guatemala by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Guatemala.

Expat Healthcare Advice in GuatemalaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Guatemala.

Best Places to Live in Guatemala Best Places to Live in Guatemala

Expats share their favorite places to live in Guatemala - from Antigua to Lake Atitlan to Xela and more.

Real Estate in GuatemalaReal Estate in Guatemala

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Guatemala.

5-Important-Tips-about-Healthcare-for-Expats-in-Guatemala5 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala have a variety of healthcare options available to them. Understanding what is available is a critical part of preparing to move there. Advice about proximity of care and prescription medications in Guatemala is also provided by expats.living there.

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