Monday, 2 March 2015

Culture shock: the expat experience

Starting a new life as an expat often means not only getting used to unfamiliar surroundings but also diving into a totally new way of life and a complete change of culture, which can be, a bit of a shock at first. Although this can often feel strange, it’s worth embracing, as it’s the seemingly strange that can lead to a fascinating adventure.
Through our Hints & Tips tool our Expats have told us why time and again immersing yourself in the culture as an expat is so important to making the most out of your move.
Letting yourself be part of a new culture opens up fantastic opportunities to experience a lifestyle that is totally unique to your location allowing you to taste food you won’t get anywhere else and see sights that you can turn into fascinating stories for friends at home.

Here are some of the best unusual encounters we have heard about from expats and their culture shocks to give you a flavour of what is out there to discover.

“When Brazilians say ‘oi?’ they’re not being rude… it means ‘pardon me?’

Sometimes the same words can have new meaning when abroad, let it be part of the fun of becoming an expat to take on a new language like a native. 

“Be prepared for astronomical prices. However, if it’s quality of life you’re after, you could not have come to a better place. This is where a Poulet de Brest costs $30. But what a treat.”

A change in culture often brings with it a change in lifestyle. This can be a case of adjusting your expectations and weighing up the pros and cons of what your new location can provide for you that is different to what you previously budgeted for back home.

Enjoy the friendliness and hospitality of the Bahraini people!”

One of the great benefits of being in a new culture is the opportunity to experience a new way of life which can often mean you are now part of a community that love to get to know their neighbours and share their hospitality – join in and see what you can offer them!

“Dubai is an amazing place to live in. Just gear up for hard work and it will definitely pay off beautifully.” 

A change of location can also mean a change of pace, but always keep in mind the many advantages of the move and how although it may all feel very new, it could be an opening to an exciting new way of life.

“Prepare to learn to slow down, as you don’t have a choice. Be ready to let go of the everyday ‘Walmart society’ convenience, learn to smile and be open minded. With these things in mind, you will survive fine and really enjoy life here in Bermuda.”

Similarly, sometimes you need to speed up and in other places you will need to slow down. However, every change will bring you something new to learn and experience that you may find is what you have always been looking for.

And above all: 

“When things seem to be going wrong, or when you find yourself getting frustrated, just smile.” What’s the best way to counter culture shock? Share your best pearl of wisdom with other expats using our Hints & Tips tool

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