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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Montezuma , Costa Rica

Sep 11, 2019


Montezuma, Costa Rica

An expat talks about what it's like living in Montezuma, Costa Rica. The challenges he found in Montezuma where terrible roads, power outages, the language barrier and the prohibitively high cost of shipping into the country.

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

Montezuma

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

None

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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?

Most of my learning Spanish has been by immersion although I do use Babbel from time to time, This has been solely while in CR.

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

No, I have lived in other non-English speaking countries.

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

Considerable. Lack of resources mainly.

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?

Still adjusting culturally. Cost of items in country and the cost to ship items from the States is somewhat prohibitive. Yes, I do feel like I have gone through these steps. Even more so because I also had to deal with the death of my Mother and daughter in the US during this time.

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 them. A lot of frustration particularly with Aeropost.

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

Fresh air, awesome people, incredible environment, great food, great music.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Roads can be terrible, power outages, language, keeping electronics working, trust, purchase and shipping of goods, getting use to what I consider rude behavior, ie people cutting in front of me in lines.

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

Telling people that I was from America.

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

Be prepared, be aware. If you can, pay a visit to where you think you want to live. I don’t believe you can know for a few years how you really will adapt. Once you arrive at your destination do your best not to compare. You have to take it for what it is. If you find the destination is not for you, try another. You will learn quickly what is acceptable to you.

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