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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Batumi, Georgia Rep

Jan 28, 2015


Batumi, Georgia

Expats in Batumi, Georgia from America or the U.K. often face a cultural adjustment that can take longer than in many Western European countries. Find out some of the complicating factors for Western expats in this expat culture shock report.

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

Batumi

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?

I learned a few words here and there, before moving to Georgia; but, I have overall learned the language by listening and speaking in my everyday life, here. I have not learned the language grammatically correctly, but, I can get by in Georgian. I have the greatest problem in learning to read and write it because the text is so different and so pretty compared to our latin letters. I have found my biggest frustration with the language is that when someone here learns that you are foreign, they automatically try to communicate with you in Russian (if they know it, which not all Georgians do, especially much of the younger generations don't) of which I know none nor do I wish to know that language. I insist that they speak either Georgian or English with me. Usually, they're so excited that a foreigner has attempted to learn their language that they are very accommodating, thereafter.

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

No, the culture here is similar in many ways to the way I was brought up.

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

Not that great as I had already been traveling with my husband (former performer of a Cirque du Soleil traveling show) in other countries where some of the people were much less interested in and less caring for foreigners than they are here in Georgia.

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 have but only because the change of government that recently occurred has been extremely detrimental to the general comfort of living for we foreigners as well as for the population at large, in my opinion. This new government seems to especially very much dislike Americans - very uncomfortable for we Americans who have chosen to settle and make investments here.

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.

Lack of patience with others.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The overall mentality here to think and plan for only "today" rather than ahead. And the intense lack of work ethic which I believe is this country's greatest detriment.

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