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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Krakow, Poland

Submitted by laurabcote


Market Square in Krakow, Poland

We've now been here about 10 months and I feel almost settled. There are still times where I feel frustrated when I can't find a particular product and can't explain what I'm looking for, have trouble making a doctor's appointment, can't read the mail I've received, etc.

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

Krakow

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

No.

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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, but I am planning to learn the language. My husband and I take lessons weekly for one hour. However, we feel that we aren't progressing as quickly as when we learned other languages such as French, Italian, German.

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

No.

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

It was higher than I expected, having lived in Italy and Luxembourg prior to moving to Poland.

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, definitely the anger and rejection stage. I wasn't as proactive in solving my own problems due to the language barrier both verbally and written.

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 only experienced anxiety, but this has been getting better. We've now been here about 10 months and I feel almost settled. There are still times where I feel frustrated when I can't find a particular product and can't explain what I'm looking for, have trouble making a doctor's appointment, can't read the mail I've received, etc.

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

For the most part, work colleagues are readily available to help us in making appointments, translating and pointing us in the right direction in search of a particular product.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Language!

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

Find a helpful support systems of locals that can help guide you through this tricky situations.

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