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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Siguatepeque, Honduras

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

Siguatepeque

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

No, but I lived in Colombia for many years in my youth.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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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 speak the language very well. I learned it as a youngster when I lived in Colombia.

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

Not much, since I had lived in Latin America before.

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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?

Much more than I expected. Honduras is much poorer than Colombia, with much less infrastructure and fewer amenities. Also, I had not lived in Latin American for many years,

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?

Yes. The first few days were delightful, if disorienting. Then I got very anxious and fearful, especially since I am by myself. I do find some things irritating, but I don't get angry much.

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.

All of the above, except drinking (I don't drink). Also loss of appetite. However, on the bright side, even though I regained my appetite and am not watching what I'm eating nor exercising much, I lost weight. Fewer processed foods.

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

Friendliness, non-materialistic--that is, no one cares what kind of car you drive or how big your house is. As odd as it may sound, I appreciate the lower standard of living, and the fact that everything doesn't have to be enormous and fancy. I also like the freshness of the food.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Backwardness, bureaucracy, security and safety. Also, because I don't know how things work, the most basic task can be very daunting--buying groceries, opening a bank account, even taking a walk.

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

People think that because I know Spanish so well, I know what's going on, but it's not always true. Sometimes I am totally bewildered. Also, while some of the food is familiar, it's all called by different names, so I am always asking, what is this called? People think I'm crazy--it's a banana, for crying out loud, don't you know? No, sometimes I don't.

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

Ride it through. This strange, bewildering place will come to be familiar and comfortable. Really.

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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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