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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Palmira, Colombia

Nov 22, 2015


An American woman who needed a change, moved to Palmira, Colombia. She's been there for 5 years and loves life in Colombia. She's happier, more relaxed and loves her new life full of adventure and nature.

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

Palmira

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

No, I just left the USA and moved.

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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?

I came to Colombia with limited Spanish speaking skills and now I speak pretty well.... it is almost 5 years.

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

I wasn't, I wanted a change.

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

I loved the culture immediately.

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?

The only thing that made me upset (not angry) was the way the Colombian's were behind technology wise...but they are catching up all the time now.

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 noticed I was much happier, much more relaxed. I was experiencing a lovely new life that was full of adventure and nature. I LOVE living outside of the USA!

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

I love the nature, I love the lifestyle. I am so happy with the food which is organic. I love having learned a new language. I LOVE my life.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

I don't like to drive here.

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

I used some words in Spanish that are meant differently here,..and that is it.

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

Just do your homework on everything.

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