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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Medellin, Colombia

Oct 30, 2017
Submitted by medellinappartments


Medellin, Colombia

An expat in Medellin talks about adapting to the manana way of life, starting a real estate business in Colombia and the friendly Colombians.

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

Medellin

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

No.

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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 planned to take Spanish lessons as soon as I would arrive. My Duolingo app is very helpful.

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

Not really, I like to take things as they come.

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Get FREE quotes from up to 6 international movers from The Relocator. Save up to 50% on your move to Colombia! The Relocator offers an easy and free service to receive quotes from renowned and certified movers worldwide. They only work with qualified moving companies. Over 500 movers worldwide have already joined their service to help you get the best price and service for your international move. Get your moving quotes.

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

Well... I must say I am not used to the manana-thing and the startup and registering of my businesses went painstaking slow due to the extreme level of bureaucracy, then some real estate agencies tried to scam me for over 50 million pesos so I decided to register my own agency to be able to start the apartment rental business that I had plans for.

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?

After a good month I almost decided to leave because a lot of Colombians gave me the feeling that they see a Gringo as some sort of money-for-the-taking-possibility... Later, I realised that my own behaviour caused most of it. Waving with money is not cool over here.

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.

After two months I finally started to understand the whole tranquilo/manana-thing that caused me so many frustrations, going against the grain is not the way to go... Learning to speak Spanish is also really helpful if you want to find your way over here ;-)

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

Lots of really friendly people in Colombia, If you are lost you must not be surprised if someone escorts you for half an hour to take you where you wanted to go.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Finding a balanced social network can be difficult when you only hang with the Gringos.

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

Beeing blunt-honest like people in my country is NOT the way to go!! ;-)

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

Go with the flow!

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats MedellinMedellin Guide

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Medellin.

Colombia Index Medellin Index
An index of all of our site's Medellin information.

Expat Healthcare Advice in MedellinHealthcare & Health Insurance in Medellin

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

Digital Nomad Life Medellin Living in Medellin

More about what it's like living in Medellin.

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Here are the best places to live in Medellin, Colombia, based on the recommendations of expats.that already live there. There are options for a variety of budgets in this now popular destination in Colombia.

Cost-of-Living-in-Medellin,-ColombiaCost of Living in Medellin, Colombia

Expats in Medellin enjoy a far lower cost of living than in major cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. However, work is scarce and low pay unless you are transferred there by a large company, so you'll need an established income stream to make it as an expat in Medellin.

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Expats living in Medellin, Colombia report that there are safe places to live - and that the nightlife is fun, too. Read about how to live in Medellin - a city that has become quite a popular destination for expats.

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

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

Expat Healthcare Advice in ColombiaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Colombia

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

Best Places to Live in Colombia Best Places to Live in Colombia

Here are the 9 best places to live in Colombia according to expats living in Colombia. Expats share why they love living in each city, the climate, cost of living, social activities and more. Don't overlook the comments about heat and humidity in some coastal cities - while these conditions are ideal for some expats, they're oppressive for others.

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Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Colombia.

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