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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Moshi, Tanzania


An expat living in Moshi, Tanzania is slowly learning Swahili by interacting with locals. He enjoys warm, friendly and demonstrative nature of the locals. He also notices that there is a certain 'Wild West Frontier', every-man-for-himself attitude masked by their friendliness.

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?


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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?

No previous experience of Swahili. I am learning as I go, by interaction with local people (slowly).

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


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

Quite significant because frustration levels are high and because getting even basic things done can be hard.

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've experienced the first two stages mentioned but I hope that I can skip the third and move into the fourth.

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.

Irritation, anxiety, frustration.

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

Some levels of respect for the elderly. The greetings rituals. The mostly, warm, friendly and demonstrative nature of the locals.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

There is a certain 'Wild West frontier', every-man-for-himself attitude in most local people that is sometimes masked by their friendliness.

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

Not that I'm aware of.

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