Culture shock in Europe can come as a surprise

Culture shock in Europe can come as a surprise

Culture shock in Europe can come as a surprise

Culture shock is a common expat experience even in familiar European states.

For the majority of expats who’ve been on holiday in various EU member states, the thought of experiencing culture shock when relocating to a known environment doesn’t occur, but the difference between being a tourist and a resident soon kicks in once the move is made. It doesn’t matter which European Union country you’re in, as every one has its own little foibles able to confuse and rattle new expat arrivals.

For example, Swedish nationals are unbelievably polite but are also committed to minding their own business, leading to an inability to smile at strangers from another land. In addition, they’re fiercely protective about what they see as theirs, including a seat on a crowded train or bus. In contrast, Italians are friendly to the ‘nth degree, but Italian bureaucracy and the lack of digitalisation can create nightmares for international expats.

For newbies who’re sensitive to excess heat, France isn’t the best destination as its nationals simply hate air-conditioning and manage to get by without it even on the hottest summer days. Long lunch breaks are the norm, but eating lunch at your office desk or, worse still, working through the lunch break won’t win you any French friends. It’s not just offices that shut down for lunch, it’s also shops, the police, banks and post offices.

As regards Germany and its foibles, it has to be said German efficiency is scary at best but doesn’t seem to work too well for expats attempting to set up bank accounts and other such necessities. Another issue can cause terror for expat drivers, as there are no speed limits on the country’s famous autobahns! Laid-back Spain is totally different, with siestas and fiestas taking up a great deal of time usually spent slaving at your office desk. Let’s face it, wherever you’re planning to settle, culture shock is best ignored.

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