Home Ecuador Forum Ecuador Guide Moving to Ecuador Real Estate Healthcare in Ecuador
Ecuador
Resources
City Guides
Cigna International Health Insurance
JoinSign In
Cigna International Health Insurance

Guayaquil >

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Guayaquil, Ecuador

May 06, 2019


Guayaquil, Ecuador

A newcomer to Ecuador offers an honest view of what it's like adjusting to life in Guayaquil. From finding it hard to understand people, because they speak too fast to feeling depressed and thinking about returning home, she is truly in the midst of culture shock.

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

Guayaquil

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

No

Expats living in Ecuador interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

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?

Yes I speak Spanish but they speak too fast and use too many local idioms and feel lost at times.

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

Yes, but I figured being a Spanish speaker and having relatives would make the move easier. It didn't. It has been a struggle to adjust to their expectations.

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

Very significant. I'm depressed and at least once a day I think of going home.

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?

Most definitely. I'm somewhere between rejection and adjustment at this point. I dislike certain things but not enough to leave yet.

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.

Depression over possibly making a bad life decision by moving to Guayaquil, anxiety over my future earning potential and retirement plan being abroad, overeating on American snacks and packaged food because I'm tired of the local cuisine, easily frustrated with bureaucracy and nosy people.

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

People's willingness to embrace a stranger, their warm welcoming attitude and relaxed way of living. They face so many struggles on a day to day basis and still manage to go on with a smile on their face. That's baffling and enviable at the same time.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

How normal it is to expect or to offer a bribe. The level of corruption is so widespread that is just hard to digest at times. Also, some people don't perceive new methods as improvements but rather as challenges to their authority. some don't accept constructive criticism.

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

I used to translate "you know what I mean" to "si me entiendes" and people would just nod politely but give me a weird look... later I was informed that "si me entiendes" sounds condescending to the other person in Spanish because the context of the sentence implies they are not bright enough to follow my chain of thought-- I was told to use "si me explico?" which translates to "am I explaining myself? " which puts the responsibility of any misunderstanding on my shoulders.

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

Visit before moving and try to not make any assumptions. Listen to locals about safety issues. And definitely start to downsize your toiletry needs while still at home. The shock of not finding "essentials" in your new country is very frustrating.

Read Next

Retirement-In-Bahia-de-CaraquezAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

An expat who retired to Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador enjoys Bahia's very low cost of living, fresh uncontaminated food and warm climate. He wishes he had been more cautious with investments given the issues in Ecuador with the 7.8 earthquake last April. The experience has taught him a lot about buying property and property laws.

Moving-To-CuencaAn Expat Talks about Moving to Cuenca, Ecuador

An expat in Cuenca, Ecuador advises others to take an exploratory trip before committing to making the move. Then, if you do move to Cuenca, leave your furniture at home since it's very expensive to ship and furniture is very reasonably priced in Ecuador.

11 Things to Know Before Moving to Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is Ecuador's third largest city, but still has a small-city feeling. Expats share 11 things they wish they had known before moving to Cuenca from packing sunscreen to being aware of gringo gouging.

Moving to Ecuador: 14 Things to Know Before Moving to Ecuador

Expats in Ecuador offer advice to newcomers and people considering a move to Ecuador about clothing, sunscreen, renting before buying, gringo pricing, Ecuadorians politeness and much more.

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.
Expatriate Health Insurance

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

13 Expats Talk about Living in Ecuador

Expats in Ecuador talk about what its like living in Ecuador. From the lower cost of living to its wonderful climate to the focus on family, Ecuador is a popular destination for retirees and other expats.
Expats in Ecuador talk about what its like living in Ecuador. From the lower cost of living to its wonderful climate to the focus on family, Ecuador is a popular destination for retirees and other ex...

11 Things to Know Before Moving to Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is Ecuador's third largest city, but still has a small-city feeling. Expats share 11 things they wish they had known before moving to Cuenca from packing sunscreen to being aware of gringo gouging.

Cuenca is Ecuador's third largest city, but still has a small-city feeling. Expats share 11 things they wish they had known before moving to Cuenca from packing sunscreen to being aware of gringo gou...

Moving to Ecuador: 14 Things to Know Before Moving to Ecuador

Expats in Ecuador offer advice to newcomers and people considering a move to Ecuador about clothing, sunscreen, renting before buying, gringo pricing, Ecuadorians politeness and much more.

Expats in Ecuador offer advice to newcomers and people considering a move to Ecuador about clothing, sunscreen, renting before buying, gringo pricing, Ecuadorians politeness and much more....

Retirement-In-Bahia-de-CaraquezAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

An expat who retired to Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador enjoys Bahia's very low cost of living, fresh uncontaminated food and warm climate. He wishes he had been more cautious with investments given the issues in Ecuador with the 7.8 earthquake last April. The experience has taught him a lot about buying property and property laws.

An expat who retired to Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador enjoys Bahia's very low cost of living, fresh uncontaminated food and warm climate. He wishes he had been more cautious with investments given the i...

Moving-To-CuencaAn Expat Talks about Moving to Cuenca, Ecuador

An expat in Cuenca, Ecuador advises others to take an exploratory trip before committing to making the move. Then, if you do move to Cuenca, leave your furniture at home since it's very expensive to ship and furniture is very reasonably priced in Ecuador.

An expat in Cuenca, Ecuador advises others to take an exploratory trip before committing to making the move. Then, if you do move to Cuenca, leave your furniture at home since it's very expensive to ...

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

Copyright 1997-2019 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal