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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Kampot, Cambodia

Oct 22, 2014


A retired expat in Kampot, Cambodia enjoys how friendly people are in Kampot. He says that people there worry less and are much more laid back than back home (Argentina). Plus, locals are very respectful of elders.

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, but am picking up basics.

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

No, as I have lived & traveled in SE Asia before.

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

When I first traveled here it was a little confronting & could not understand how people could live like they do & took some getting used to.

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?

It was more frustration than anything as the locals did most things there way & you have to accept some of it.

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.

As I said it was more frustration than anything so if you couldn't do it yourself you have to rely on the locals.

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

They do not seem to worry a lot & that rubs off over a period of time. They are more tolerant of each other & are quick to please & with a smile as I'm an older person that goes a long way.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Language of cause & bribes that are paid to officials when you need to go through official channels.

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

I properly have but I never knew it as most people are polite to older people.

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

Yes, don't get upset about it as it will usually work out & try & smile it does help. You may like to try & change things so just try & set an example.

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