Costa Rica Culture Shock

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Hey guys, I’m Michael alan for http://TravelCostaRicaNow.com first check this out….

Guys, is it any wonder why people are drawn to Costa Rica?.. I mean… come on… It’s beautiful… So the next thing you know you’re wanting to live here. But once you get past the romance of it all, and the beauty of it all you’ve got to considered one thing big time… cause this isn’t the states… you’ve got to consider culture shock.

Here’s what our friends at Wikipedia say about culture shock: “ Culture shock refers to the anxiety and feelings of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown culture or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture. Causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.”

So, again, when you get pass the romance of wanting to live here you’ve got to considered a few more things… okay we’re going to assume money is not a problem… that you have money and that’s not going to be a problem … Costa Rica is pretty much like the United States was back in the 50’s and 60’s. Very traditional for the most part… morals and values are rooted in religion, so religion plays a big part down here… not saying that’s good or bad … I’m just saying that’s how it is.

Ticos are very polite. They’re non confrontational … they’re pretty… Bever Cleverish .. you know…. They’re all about appearances in a way… they don’t like to air their dirty laundry down here… that type of thing. They’re very family oriented, so that’s the base of kind of the culture down here.

Now as far as how they do things they are not performance driven. Like in the United States we’re all about work. We define ourselves through our work a lot of times… here they don’t do that. And they don’t even really care… they do not live here to work, they live here to live. They’re all about the process of things… they’re not very quick, they’re not very efficient. You have to jump through a lot of hoops down here, you have to go through a lot of red tape down here, there’s a lot of paperwork down here, a lot of bureaucracy down here… you’re waiting and waiting for legal things to happen… for your house construction to be complete. Hell, if you ask the guys “Can you paint my kitchen tomorrow morning?” he’s say “Sure”. Well, he’s not going to show up guys… he might show up a week from now and when he comes to your door and you say “Well, I’m ready to leave right now. You can’t do it right now” he’s like “I’m here now, what’s the problem?”. And you’re like… “you were suppose to be here last week” and he’s like “well, I’m here now, what’s the problem?” …… So again, they don’t care about that kind of stuff. Again, they’re about the process… why would you have one person do it when you could perhaps have 10 people do it… So, think of Costa Rica as one huge DMV line after line…. “Oh, get your insurance over there, come back tomorrow and schedule your driving test, Oh, you’re in the wrong line you’ve got to start over, oh, you….” Hahaha that’s kind of how it is here… if you can remember the DMV of old.

So, now here lies the problem, because in the United States we are kind of performance driven. So, now are you a perfectionist? Are you a “type A” personality? Is it your way or the highway? Do you kind of like to argue and debate the issue? Are you impatient? Are you all about schedules? Are you kind of a complainer and wiener? Do you see things and go “oh that can be done so much better”? Well, You’ve got to consider those things because that can be a problem. (if you said YES to any of those you will have a problem here)

You have to know you’re probably already going to be viewed coming in here as a “Type A Personality” whether you are or not… And you kind of need to know that… you should know how people see you or see your culture or how they think of you. So the other thing you want t o do is you want to learn about their culture before you come down here… You should be reading the books, you should be scanning the internet. And I would definitely encourage you to come down here and spend some time before you decide to uproot your whole life and pack it, because a lot of people don’t make it down here because of the culture. So, you definitely, definitely, want to do your homework. And the other thing is you should know yourself… are you those things? If you are those things you’re going to have a hard time down here… actually, you’re not going to make it down here.

You need to know yourself, be flexible, be open to new things, new ideas, …. You know what, actually when I use to work with kids …. And kids that had problems making friends … um I use to tell them … “When you inter a group that’s not yours…. Be quiet listen… don’t say anything, don’t try and change the groups behaviors, just listen… maybe ask a few questions when it’s time, but really kind of keep to yourself until they start letting you come in. And I would encourage you to do the same thing down here…. Just shut up and listen to what’s going on down here and see how they run their life. Don’t come down here like an “American”. Because the worst thing you could do is come down here and go “That’s not how we do it in the States” Well, you know what?! You’re not in the States anymore. So, hey guys, considering on living here think of culture shock… okay…. So, I’m michael alan from www.Travel CostaRicaNow.com hope it helps …. PEACE!!!