Guatemala
Resources
City Guides
JoinSign In
University of Birmingham Online MBA

Living in Guatemala >

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Jan 18, 2016
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.

Expats living in Guatemala interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get quotes our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Aetna and GeoBlue. Get a Quote

Expats living in Guatemala interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get quotes our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Aetna and GeoBlue.

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

Moving to Guatemala soon? AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Their experience and expertise allows them to guarantee their clients the best quality moving services. Get a moving quote today.

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.....

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Guatemala from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

More about Quetzaltenango

Healthcare in Guatemala

Healthcare 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.

Join our Guatemala Expat Forum

Visit our Guatemala Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

More about Guatemala

Expats-Talk-About-The-Biggest-Challenges-They-Face-Living-in-Latin-AmericaExpats Talk About The Biggest Challenges They Face Living in Latin America

Expats talk about some of the biggest challenges they've faced living in Latin America. Whether you're moving to Panama City or Punta del Este, this article is a must read to help you prepare (hint: you'll be much happier if you learn the language) and adjust your expectations (realities: the roads are rough, the pace of life is slower and bureaucracy is unavoidable). Despite all of the challenges, the list of what expats like about life in Latin America far exceeds the challenges.

Pros-and-Cons-of-Living-in-GuatemalaExpats in Guatemala: Pros and Cons of Living in Guatemala

Expats are very forthcoming about the pros and cons of living in Guatemala. Pros include the spring-like weather, the low cost of living and the lifestyle. Cons include limited access to quality healthcare (especially outside of Guatemala City), gringo pricing, crime and the reality that the rainy season can be depressing.

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-GuatemalaMoving to Guatemala: 7 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-GuatemalaExpat Guatemala: The 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.

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.
addacomment
Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Guatemala from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Healthcare in GuatemalaHealthcare 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.

Restaurants in QuetzaltenangoRestaurants in Quetzaltenango

Support your favorite restaurants in Quetzaltenango as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

Expats-Talk-About-The-Biggest-Challenges-They-Face-Living-in-Latin-AmericaExpats Talk About The Biggest Challenges They Face Living in Latin America

Expats talk about some of the biggest challenges they've faced living in Latin America. Whether you're moving to Panama City or Punta del Este, this article is a must read to help you prepare (hint: you'll be much happier if you learn the language) and adjust your expectations (realities: the roads are rough, the pace of life is slower and bureaucracy is unavoidable). Despite all of the challenges, the list of what expats like about life in Latin America far exceeds the challenges.

Pros-and-Cons-of-Living-in-GuatemalaExpats in Guatemala: Pros and Cons of Living in Guatemala

Expats are very forthcoming about the pros and cons of living in Guatemala. Pros include the spring-like weather, the low cost of living and the lifestyle. Cons include limited access to quality healthcare (especially outside of Guatemala City), gringo pricing, crime and the reality that the rainy season can be depressing.

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-GuatemalaMoving to Guatemala: 7 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.

Guatemala Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2020 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal