Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In
GeoBlue Expat Health Insurance
GeoBlue Expat Health Insurance

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Submitted by souix


Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

An expat living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala talks about the culture shock she experienced when she moved to Guatemala. Her biggest challenges was getting used to cold showers! She advised newcomers to be friendly, interact with locals even if you only speak a little Spanish, speak more quietly and be gracious.

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

Quetzaltenango

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

No training and little Spanish.

Get a free international health insurance quote from our partner, Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.
Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance in Guatemala

Get a free international health insurance quote from our partner, Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.
Get a Quote

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 speak a little Espanol. I am a person who smiles easily and noticed my whole life that most communication is non verbal. So, I have never been afraid or unwilling to use my little Spanish to try.... to chat. It's a bit difficult but have had 80% success in getting what I need knowing & discerning the essential nouns I need!? Being a bit of an artist...I'm not tense or need perfection!

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

Nope

Moving to Guatemala Soon?

AGS Worldwide Movers can move you to and from anywhere in the world. Presently the AGS Group has over 141 locations in more than 95 countries and has one of the largest networks in the international removals industry. We relocate 85,000 families every year. Free moving quote!

Moving to Guatemala Soon?

AGS Worldwide Movers can move you to and from anywhere in the world. Presently the AGS Group has over 141 locations in more than 95 countries and has one of the largest networks in the international removals industry. We relocate 85,000 families every year. Free moving quote!

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

Sometimes it's good to be forced into being more patient. In Guatemala, NOTHING is easy or convenient. It takes hours to find things like a hot shower & it took months to realize you CAN get clean AND get used to tepid water!? This was my only real cultural shock....!

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?

Initial annoyance for ME was accepting that everywhere in Guatemala.... is based upon the Al la Carte principal. Anything over basic you will PAY for.... Basics ARE affordable but anything above you WILL have to pay for. Hostels are cheap. Hotels are NOT. Market food is cheap....restaurants are not.

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 notice my health & vigor have improved because I have to WALK a LOT more!?!

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

The people's willingness to SMILE. Old people who are still active and friendly. The busy cultural norm of walking. The noise of vehicles can be annoying to me as its constant... from morning until night....!

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The chronic noise of vehicles... grinding gears, horns and just general loudness not of the people but the blaring speakers and vehicles....non stop chaos.....! Arrgh! The other challenge in Guatemala is finding a decent WIFI signal. Not common like up in USA or Canada...at all.

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

Blunders all humans commit wherever they are. No one else notices so get over it. I think the one blunder I personally notice a lot is how LOUD many Americans talk. Be aware of this and attempt to chat quietly. Whenever I saw 2 or more Americans I heard them first! Whatever you think you have to say.... remember to say it quietly.

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

Talk more quietly, observe and learn. People notice your non verbals. Remember to be gracious. Let the older lady carrying a big bundle board the bus ahead of you. She's working. You're on holiday. Politeness is appreciated and noticed even by the poorest Guatemalan.....

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Guatemala GuideGuatemala Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Guatemala.

Guatemala Forum Guatemala Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Guatemala on our Guatemala forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Guatemala Index Guatemala Index
An index of all of our site's Guatemala information.

Contribute to Guatemala Network Contribute
Help others in Guatemala by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Guatemala.

Expat Healthcare Advice in GuatemalaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Guatemala.

Expat Talk about Healthcare Advice in GuatemalaMembers Talk about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala offer advice about healthcare in Guatemala.

Best Places to Live in Guatemala Best Places to Live in Guatemala

Expats share their favorite places to live in Guatemala - from Antigua to Lake Atitlan to Xela and more.

Real Estate in GuatemalaReal Estate in Guatemala

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Guatemala.

Guide to Real Estate in GuatemalaGuide to Real Estate in Guatemala

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Guatemala.

Pros Cons of Living in GuatemalaPros & Cons of Living in Guatemala

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Guatemala.

7-Things-to-Know-Before-You-Move-to-Guatemala7 Things to Know Before You Move to Guatemala

Expats that move to Guatemala do so to enjoy a beautiful country where the cost of living can be dramatically different than the rest of the world. However, it's important to understand all of the details of living in Guatemala before moving there.

The-5-Best-Places-to-Live-in-GuatemalaThe 5 Best Places to Live in Guatemala

Expats share their favorite places to live in Guatemala - from Antigua to Lake Atitlan to Xela and more.

5-Great-Places-to-Retire-in-Central-America5 Great Places to Retire in Central America

Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and friendly people.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Guatemala10 Tips for Living in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala offers tips about living in Guatemala. They discuss where to live in Guatemala, the locals and their culture, crime problems, cost of living and more.

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Guatemala GuideGuatemala Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Guatemala.

Guatemala Forum Guatemala Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Guatemala on our Guatemala forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Guatemala Index Guatemala Index
An index of all of our site's Guatemala information.

Contribute to Guatemala Network Contribute
Help others in Guatemala by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Guatemala.

Expat Healthcare Advice in GuatemalaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Guatemala.

Expat Talk about Healthcare Advice in GuatemalaMembers Talk about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala offer advice about healthcare in Guatemala.

Best Places to Live in Guatemala Best Places to Live in Guatemala

Expats share their favorite places to live in Guatemala - from Antigua to Lake Atitlan to Xela and more.

Real Estate in GuatemalaReal Estate in Guatemala

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Guatemala.

Guide to Real Estate in GuatemalaGuide to Real Estate in Guatemala

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Guatemala.

Pros Cons of Living in GuatemalaPros & Cons of Living in Guatemala

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Guatemala.

5-Important-Tips-about-Healthcare-for-Expats-in-Guatemala5 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats in Guatemala

Expats in Guatemala have a variety of healthcare options available to them. Understanding what is available is a critical part of preparing to move there. Advice about proximity of care and prescription medications in Guatemala is also provided by expats.living there.

7-Things-to-Know-Before-You-Move-to-Guatemala7 Things to Know Before You Move to Guatemala

Expats that move to Guatemala do so to enjoy a beautiful country where the cost of living can be dramatically different than the rest of the world. However, it's important to understand all of the details of living in Guatemala before moving there.

The-5-Best-Places-to-Live-in-GuatemalaThe 5 Best Places to Live in Guatemala

Expats share their favorite places to live in Guatemala - from Antigua to Lake Atitlan to Xela and more.

5-Great-Places-to-Retire-in-Central-America5 Great Places to Retire in Central America

Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and friendly people.

Copyright 1997-2022 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal