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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Wellington, New Zealand

Jun 29, 2015

Wellington, New Zealand

An expat in Wellington, New Zealand talks about the culture shock he's experienced and how he's handled it. He advises others who are feeling homesick to take the time (and expense) to prepare a meal like you would at home.

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?

No, none at all.

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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?

The speak English here but it is some of the terms, words and idioms that are foreign to us.

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


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

Not significant, but it is still something that we deal with each day.

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?

Definitely the honeymoon phase but that has somewhat eased into a morph of the other three.

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.

Anxiety, trouble sleeping, frustration

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

Eating new foods, learning new ways of doing things, learning a new culture.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Some of the words used, the speed at which they talk and driving.

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

Coming from the southern US, Mam and Sir is a part of our growing up, Saying Ya'll instead of you guys is another. People look at you funny and then figure you are not from here.

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

Know that it will probably happen to everyone at one point or another. Build time into your schedule to do things that you would do "at home". No matter how much it costs, prepare a meal like you would at home.

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