Costa Rica News – For all of you packing your things and heading south to live and/or work in Costa Rica adjusting to the culture in Costa Rica can be a very difficult process. Alot of people down here cannot handle it and end up moving back home.  I recommend a trial run for about 4 to 5 months before doing the complete move.

Culture shock sounds scary! What is it, exactly? If you have ever considered moving to a new country I’m sure you have heard this term but have you ever thought of what it’s about or if it could happen to you?

Culture shock can be described as “a temporary psychological disorder that occurs in individuals adjusting to life in an unfamiliar culture.” I can almost guarantee that it will affect everyone, even you, who moves away from their own country. This is because it takes a huge adjustment to live daily life, doing the things you have always done without thinking, differently.

culture-shock (1)The good news is that as long as you expect and prepare for it, you should survive it just fine! The great news is that if you can embrace it, the culture shock can be a positive part of your adventure. What made you want to move away from home? Why did you choose Costa Rica? There must be something in the culture that is attractive to you. Surely when you get here, though it may cause shock, you can find many more cultural aspects to embrace and enjoy!

Some advice for adjusting well and without much stress or shock: understand your own culture first, maybe by asking a foreigner in your country what he has noticed about your culture; next decide to adjust rather than judge, try things in the way you see them in Costa Rica before deeming that they are wrong; also be curious, ask questions and get involved in your new culture; lastly, remember that a feeling of shock is a temporary sensation that will pass as you adjust to and begin to value the new culture!

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Some Fun Examples

What the hell?

  • Men and cologne. Less is more, guys. I smell you before I see you. Even the surf instructor who’d been in the water already gave me a huge cologne-drenched hug. I don’t even know how that’s possible.
  • Noise pollution. Whether it’s animals, electronics, people yelling. Why doesn’t this bother anyone here?
  • Sour cream and mayonnaise served like a side. And with weird things, like fruit. Gag me with a steamroller.
  • The kid’s school schedule. It is sporadic at best, and frankly, they just don’t seem to have class very many days or for very many hours. Like, four hours a day? I hope your teachers are amazing…and education is allegedly really important to Costa Ricans.
  • No eating vegetables. For example, tonight I had mashed potatoes, sausage and an egg. For lunch I had chicken and rice. For breakfast, two fried eggs and toast. When I get veggies, it’s usually cabbage in a soup, lettuce in a salad, and peppers in my gallo pinto. 🙁
I get it!
  • No front yards. Instead, everyone has these wonderful large courtyards which double as parking, a patio, a garden, and in the case of my family, a dance floor. Imagine: no lawn mowing. Instead, you sit on your patio, surrounded by so many plants that you have plenty of privacy.
  • Coffee in the afternoon. Similar to British tea time, it’s accompanied by snacks like crackers, cheese, fruit, cake, jelly.
  • Chickens, plantain trees, and vegetable gardens in everyone’s backyards.
  • No salad dressing. A little white vinegar and lime juice.
  • Honking and waving to everyone. Yeah, they don’t know me, but they want to. I think. I don’t know. I take it as a compliment as long as there is no yelling at me.
  • Saying “Adios” to people in the street. “Hola” is too forward. You would only say that if you were trying to hit on the gringa. Otherwise, you say “adios” as you keep walking.