MOVING TO GERMANY | The 5 stages of culture shock 🇩🇪

hi guys welcome back to my channel and if you're new here I'm internet and New Zealand are living in Germany and in this video today I am going to be talking about the five stages of culture shock that you are most likely going to experience if you move to Germany from another country I'm going to be talking from my own personal experience as a New Zealand moving across the other side of the world to Germany nine years ago and I have to say that New Zealand and Germany culturally are completely different I definitely experienced culture shock when I moved from New Zealand to Germany and when I talk about culture shock I don't mean this in a negative way it's not necessarily a negative thing culture shock for me is something that you feel when you are experiencing a culture that is completely different to the culture that you were used to so even if you're moving from say Poland to Germany you know pollen and Germany are basically neighbors that you're still going to experience culture shock so when I first moved to Germany nine years ago YouTube was just kind of starting out there were no expat youtubers that I could connect with and relate to blogging was kind of big back then so I found a couple of expect bloggers that I could relate to but it was really hard for me to find other expats that I could connect with but over the years I have been lucky enough to connect with a lot of expats living in Germany and what I have found is that there is kind of like a pattern and the adjustment period when people move to Germany it's just so wonderful to know that I am NOT alone in all of these feelings and emotions that I've experienced normal and they are all part of the process and I think that's why it's so important to be able to connect with other expats whether it be in real life or you know through YouTube or blogs or you know internet forums okay so with all that being said let's get into first stage of culture shock that you may experience when you move to Germany I'm the person that has always been fascinated by different countries and cultures I remember from a very young age even as young as six I was aware of the fact that New Zealand only occupied a teeny tiny part of the world and that there were so many other countries and cultures out there and this concept absolutely fascinated me so I moved to Germany with a very open mind and I was very excited about the differences I remember when I first moved to Germany being on an absolute high it was a dream come true to be able to live in Europe and experience you know life in Europe and just I was just taking it everything German I thought the language was amazing I loved the food I just loved everything about Germany I first came to Germany and December right before Christmas and I remember being absolutely gobsmacked as we say in New Zealand basically I was speechless when I saw how beautiful Germany looks decorated and all of these like beautiful you know Christmas decorations the lights you know the Christmas smells it was just so so different to Christmas in New Zealand and I wasn't feeling homesick at the time I was just so excited and so and I was just taking and everything I wanted to just experience everything German and just loving the experience and so this was kind of like the romantic stage of moving to Germany and honestly I think this lasted a good three months when I was just absolutely in awe of everything and then came the second stage of culture shock and this stage kind of creeped up and it definitely lasted quite a while I remember starting to feel homesick and it was horrible it was the most gut-wrenching feeling ever and started out you know as I mentioned very slowly and then it just kind of turned into this like full-blown homesickness where I just missed everything about New Zealand I missed the food I missed the people I miss the mentality I missed everything I think it kind of started when I realized that people and Germany didn't respond to me the way that people in New Zealanders and so for example as I always talk about the fact that in New Zealand we will smile at strangers and we're very warm and open to strangers it's very easy to make friends and people are a lot more friendly in New Zealand and so in Germany you know when I walk down the street and I would smile at somebody and have somebody just not smile back or you say hello and somebody just blatantly ignores you I took that very personally and it was it was rough I remember being in a restaurant with Rob and the waitress was just what I considered to be very very rude and she was just very short with us she just wasn't warm she wasn't friendly and I remember saying to Rob why was that lady so rude and then Rob said to me what are you talking about I don't think that lady was Road and then it just suddenly hit me that this is what the German mentality is like and I cannot expect Germans to be like New Zealanders and I remember my eyes like welling with tears and that restaurant I was trying so hard to hold the tears back but I couldn't help her I was crying I don't think anyone saw me apart from Rob because I was trying so hard to keep the tears earn but I was so sad not only that I remember feeling this overwhelming feeling of guilt that I was in Germany and I could not speak German and so Germans had to speak English with me in their own country and I know it's kind of crazy but this was really really hard for me I felt stupid I felt like I was like uneducated and I just hated that feeling and I remember people were asked me how long have you been in Germany and I'd say I've been here for six months and I couldn't speak any German I could say like a few words and I hated their feeling and so instead of having this kind of drive to learn German I kind of felt like this is impossible how am I ever going to learn this incredibly difficult language I could not even copy some of the German words that Rob would say I felt like I need an operation on my tongue I know I talk about this a lot I felt like physically I was not capable of pronouncing these German words and for me that caused overwhelming anxiety and also what I found hard was the fact that I went from being surrounded by family and friends to having no friends Rob's friends were lovely absolutely lovely but they were his friends you know I didn't have anyone that I could really connect to apart from Rob and Rob's family were absolutely wonderful to me but still I felt like I had no friends no one I could talk to apart from Rob and I felt just so so lonely and this loneliness and homesickness and worry lead me to start to feel a little bit depressed I remember thinking what am I doing with my life I am a qualified secondary school teacher I have a bachelor's degree in visual arts and design and I can't do anything here in Germany I just remember feeling so stuck so depressed and so lonely I had never experienced depression and my life before I moved to Germany and I I just wasn't feeling myself Rob was just amazing during that time he was my nice he was my shoulder to cry on he listened to all of my like worries and I have no idea how he put up with me because I was just so negative it was all doom and gloom during that time and it was just a really tough situation because I knew that if I moved back to New Zealand Rob couldn't come with me because he wouldn't be allowed in New Zealand visa had already you know used his year visa in New Zealand so it was just a tough situation and I just allowed to rob so much that I was willing to sacrifice feeling so miserable to stay in Germany so the third stage of culture shock is one of my favorite stages and this is when it all started to get better there was a light at the end of the tunnel and this all started when I found out that I had to go to German language school so at the time part of the requirements for me being able to apply for my German residency was that I needed to speak a b1 level of German and this meant that I had to attend an intensive six-month-long German integration course so it wasn't just a language course it was an integration course so going to German language school was probably the best thing that I could have done at the start it was very difficult I really did struggle it wasn't like smooth sailing at the beginning but after a while I started to love going to German language school I remember getting to a point with learning the German language when a light bulb just kind of went off in my brain and I remember thinking oh my goodness I think I'm going to be able to learn this language it's not in the too hard basket I think this is doable I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be able to learn the German language but I was really enjoying learning and learning about the German culture and not only that I made friends oh my goodness what a difference this made to my happiness levels I made amazing accept friends from all around the world and these were people who were going through exactly the same thing as me and I just really connected with these people in my language school honestly it was just so amazing me seeing all of these people who I could connect with I finally had friends we would hang out a lot we would have little parties we would go out for dinner so I suddenly went from feeling so depressed I was in such a rut to feeling just wonderful I was so happy I had friends I was starting to learn the German language and I just started loving life in Germany I remember that was just such a great time in my life I started to fall in love with Germany because I was feeling so much happier I was open to meeting new people I was learning the German language I was getting out more I was experiencing new things I wasn't hiding in my apartment and I was just so open to learning about Germany to try new foods to I don't know just living life in Germany and slowly but surely I started learning about the German culture and this integration course and through that I found like a new appreciation for the German culture and I started to understand Germans a lot more I started to understand the German mentality and I embraced Germany and it was just a really great time in my life I remember getting my first job in Germany as many I was working for a German family looking after little German kids who were adorable and that also really helped me with my language with my German language and that was really really fun I got a job as a private English Joseph or a politician I started singing and restaurants it was awesome so culture shock stage 4 is a pretty interesting stage it's actually the stage where I experience reverse culture shock and reverse culture shock is when you go back to your home country and you feel like you are a foreigner in your own country and I know this sounds crazy and it's really hard to explain to anybody who has an experienced reverse culture shock but it is very real and it is something that I most certainly experienced when I came back to New Zealand now this happened I think at about the three-year mark after I'd lived in Germany for three years so I had been back in that time probably three times and three years and I did not experience this reverse culture shock at all the first two versus back to New Zealand it's when I came back to New Zealand for the third time that's been a reverse culture shock hit and that was when I looked at New Zealand with different eyes and things started to annoy me a little bit about New Zealand things that I never noticed when I was living there for example I would be thinking why and these windows designed like this why can't they be designed the German way you know and why these houses so cold you know German heating is so much better oh my goodness why these people were in their sleep and pajamas and the supermarket you would never see that in Germany oh my goodness New Zealanders are just so fake I don't know if they're telling the truth or not why can't they just get to the point so that was a reverse culture shock when I had been living in Germany for so long that I became in a way a little bit germanized and I realized that not everything that they did in New Zealand was the best way of doing things that there were actually some things that I liked better about Germany it was a really weird realization for me I remember going back to Germany after that trip to New Zealand and not feeling as homesick and so it was good it was good in a way because I was starting to feel more at home in Germany okay so last is the fifth stage of culture shock and honestly I don't even think you can call this culture shock that definitely is part of the process this is definitely my favorite stage I can't even remember when this exactly happened I don't know the timeline of this all but I started to feel this kind of like acceptance and appreciation for both countries I have the strong love for New Zealand for my homeland but also the strong love for Germany it was kind of like this deep understanding of both countries and both cultures and I feel like this is something you can only really feel if you have lived in both countries for you know a significant amount of time and this is where I'm at right now and I have to say that I I still feel homesick I don't think that is in they're going to leave me sometimes homesickness can be very intense but it comes and waves it comes and goes and that's something that I've learnt to accept but right now I just feel the sense of peace I have a deep love for New Zealand for my homeland I will always be a New Zealander always but I also have this deep love and respect for Germany so anyway guys that was the five stages of culture shock and I know that everyone's experience is going to be different but I don't know from experience that it can be a little bit of a pattern when you move to a new country and a lot of other expats have experienced these five stages of culture shock the main reason I wanted to make this video is to help out other experts maybe you are in culture shock stage number two you're not having the best time I want you to know that you can get through this that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you are not alone there are plenty of other expats around the world and we can all get through this together so anyway guys I really hope you enjoyed this video if you enjoyed it then don't forget to give it a big zap I would love you to subscribe to my channel feel free to follow me on Instagram and I will see you again really soon bye

33 thoughts on “MOVING TO GERMANY | The 5 stages of culture shock 🇩🇪

  1. My dear Antoinette Emily 😍. I would really love if you just behaved as you like ❤ !Because here in Germany we are so much blessed by people from other cultures. I really love people from other countries. So please don't adapt to this but instead bring your own culture to us. We all benefit from that!

  2. Wonderful video! I moved from the US almost 1.5 years ago and have experienced stages 1-4 which you have described. You describe the stages well. It‘s interesting that there is a pattern of emotions that most or all expats experience.

  3. Went through exactly the same as an Italian moving to Ireland, was depressed for three years, after my honeymoon period of about a year, then started to accept things, as I realised I can't change 4m people, I have to change! Now big reverse culture shock whenever I go back home!

  4. Is it just German language that you learn in the mandatory schooling for residency, or is it government and law stuff too?

  5. When coming to a highly civilized Country of course there will be Culture shock;.. Never seen so much Culture all at once!

  6. Thank you so much for another amazing video. I love this one very much because of your honesty. I made the same experience while living 20 years in Sweden. You can only evolve if you learn the language and understand the people and talk to them and learn that there are differences – good and bad – but every country has its own culture with pros and cons. After so many years in Sweden I am happy to live in a country where I can speak my native language, but otherwise I feel a little bit like a stranger in my own country.

  7. I deeply understand what you mean, I grew up as an expatriate child in Germany and always had two loves in me. Later, life guided me to other countries (in one of them I met my wife and married) and now, at 57, I am living and working in my 5th country (Middle East) with my wife. So, I very, very much understand you.

    Btw, liked you reflection and honesty on the issue.

  8. Kiwi guy here. I'm inbound to DE this year and im so nervous and excited. Your video helped a lot as ive been to Germany for 3 months and could pick up a little of what you were putting down. I feel nz is a cheap knock off when compared to germany sometimes except in the nature department. I feel online german language tools to be helpful but i dont think im going to learn without immersion or a formal course like you took. Danke =)

  9. Have you ever been to the north of Germany? Like the Hansestädte? Just in case you would like to have a second cultural shock in the same country. 😃

  10. There is one thing that you haven't experienced yet and it will stay with you for the rest of your life: If and when you should move back to New Zealand, you will always be homesick for Germany, too.
    I lived in Taiwan in my 20s. Now I am 56. But I am always, always a little homesick for Taiwan.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyed listening to your stages – not so much the depression part, though. I am glad your husband was so supportive. Just imagine he'd have been distant, shrugging and be like "it is what it is, suck it up".
    You wouldn't be you though if you weren't able to pick yourself up, good for you, and congratulations on immersing yourself into the language and the culture while making amazing friends!

    I experience "reverse culture shock" every time coming home from staying anywhere where people are more open and friendly than back home. The worst time was coming home after spending 5 weeks in Australia. The Swiss just seemed so unhappy and not warm / welcoming. Uuuggghhh!

  12. I experienced culture shock going back to my home country, since I was 2 years old when I left! It was crazy! I wanted to move back to Germany for a long time!!

  13. Reverse culture shock: totally agree…
    Interesting in my case that I never experienced culture shock when I moved to Germany. I grew up bilingually in a German family in the US, and was well acquainted with Germany through our travels there visiting my mother's family. In fact, living in Germany was a childhood aspiration I had. So when I moved to Germany for graduate study, I already had a familial support system in place. Now, after having lived in Germany for over 35 years, there are are two key points I'd like to make:
    1. The reverse culture shock gets worse with time….the longer I've been away from America the stranger it is to me. Riding trains in the US, dealing with banking, bureaucracy, the suburban strip mall sprawl, all that has become foreign to me.
    2. The other side of the coin: after having lived in Germany for so long, as a bilingual, I considered myself a German, and it took me about 20 years to realize that I had disavowed and buried the American part of my being, with the support of my wife, for whom I was German, and who didn't want to have anything to do with the American side of me when I started rediscovering lost American friends and hobbies. She also refused to travel to America with me….this eventually led to the end of our marriage.

    Antoinette, I've just been going through many of your videos, which I enjoy very much. I was disappointed that the comment sections on some of your videos are already closed….in particular those on raising bilingual children. So please allow me to present my take on this here. Let me give you the punchline first, as far as your young family is concerned: you should, as you already are, stress the English development of your children as much as possible, and don't let up, even when they become teenagers!
    Here's why:
    My family in America spoke only German at home, and my parents were very strict about this, my brother and I learned English in our neighborhood, kindergarten and school. There was no English allowed at home until I was about 14, when my mom started working. My mother was German and my father had grown up bilingually in a German family in Canada. Today, my mother speaks both languages perfectly fluently, but has an accent in both languages (!), my father barely speaks any German anymore, and my brother, who also remained in the US, understands it perfectly, but is barely fluent in German anymore. In my case, since I still use both languages on a daily basis, have the better part of this deal, linguistically…. I can sound German to Germans, and American to Americans. Unfortunately, I could not raise my children bilingually, because I couldn't speak English to my wife's children, and speaking differently to mine than to their half-siblings was more than my bilingual mind could handle, among the other stresses of raising six children of different parentage.
    So stick to your guns, and, if I may suggest, there's no harm in your speaking more English with your husband (although, in your case, you may still want the practice for your German). Your situation is very like my mother's, who went to a faraway place for love and marriage, and gradually lost some of her native language skills.

  14. Antoinette, you don't know how much I can relate to what you say in this video (but a bit the other way around). I moved to Australia from Chile at age 27 many, many moons ago (33 years in fact). I was recently married to a Chilean, but his mother was English hence his idea of moving to Australia. I grew up in Chile, but bilingual German-Spanish, in a German styled home (my mother is German). I was recently married when first setting foot in Sydney and for the first year, I could not find a job in my chosen profession. My then husband found a position after a month and he was out working all day long and I was alone, at home, with nothing to do, knowing absolutely nobody else, little English, trying to get interviews lined up .. but nothing! After about 6 months, my sadness was extreme, I missed my family and friends back in Chile and I slipped into a very deep depression, to the point that I was not getting out of bed and just lay there watching TV all day. I had no-one to talk to all day long and nothing to do. Not long after, my short-lived marriage fell apart and then I was absolutely alone in this foreign country/culture. I ended up picking myself up, finally found work and things improved. Now, decades later, I still feel different to Aussies and still feel I don't belong in Australia .. but I don't belong in Chile either, something I realised in one of my latest trips to visit my family there. But I have a lovely grown up Aussie daughter from a second marriage and my life is in Australia …. but mainly because of her, because this country is her country. Due to my German upbringing, I share a lot of the character traits you describe of the Germans in Germany and I understand so well what you describe in all your videos. Great work!

  15. I lived in Germany for 12 years straight without returning to America (20 years total). I suffered serious “reverse culture shock” as soon as I reached the States…and nobody thought I was American. Haha!! That was years ago but I still have “German moments” that remind me of the years I spent abroad. Great video, thanks!

  16. Dear Antoinette. Compliments to your attitude. ❤️Every abroad living person go through this feelings. My parents came from Croatia in the 70s to Germany. My mom couldn't speak German so I couldn't speak German when I came to Kindergarten. In school I learned more German and my German language became my mother language when I was 10 years old. Not Croatian anymore. To day I am 40 and have double citizenship. My daughter don't speak Croatian. She's German girl. She's very good in English and want to take French as a second skill. My parents learned German very fast. Of course they don't speak grammatical perfectly. But fluently. Do practice German. Many immigrate (i don't like this word) people even don't speak after years German. That's for people like me (German with foreign backgrounds) just embarrassing. Many Turkish or Balkan or Italian after 40 years of working here also don't speak German! I know some personally. My brother in law (he's Hungarian) after 7 years now living and work in Germany don't speak or even understand good the German language. My husband told him a few days ago he's ignorant. That's also my opinion. He has Family with kid and work for family but until today he has everything in his Mother language. TV menue. Books… Everything. He will never get a better payed job when he doesn't change his behavior and attitude (Einstellung). This is not the way people learn the lenguage when living abroad. To joyn only their own people and watch only their TV? I don't get this. My parents always told me, anywhere where I want to live, learn language and respect culture and law. I'm a paralegal BTW. Sorry if my sound is to direct. Especially in school this is always a topic. ❤️You are totally right when you say, "I live here and have to make natives as friends, visit a language school, and learn with my child the language. That's important." Otherwise you make a wall around yourself. My mom learned language from other mums, had different cultured friends, wached local TV etc. And don't have fear of practice. My tips for you😁 Don't give up. You will be proud of yourself 👍👍👍❤️❤️❤️

  17. I always dream to go to germany. I ever visit Holland 2016. Sometime I have a chance. Thanks for your information.

  18. OMG!!! I'm always wondering the same about German Windows! they are the best in functionality and i'm upset every time i want to open a window in the US or Belize and it doesn't open like the German ones! lol

  19. This is interesting. I've experienced all of these stages from being from the northeastern U.S., but living in the west for several years. The U.S. is so big that culture shock can easily happen across regions.

  20. Haha! I had to laugh when you said that you thought you had to have an operation on your tongue because I have often thought the same thing about me when I try to speak English.
    Antoinette, does that mean that all the nice and friendly people you ever met in Germany were exclusively non-Germans?

  21. Fantastic video! Loved it! Being a german I can absolutely understand all stages coz you've explained it more than good. I once had an english teacher. She originally was from the Netherland, had an husband from England and they moved a lot due to his job. They had also been in Italy and she spoke that language perfectly but somehow she never really started to learn german. She asked me one day how she could have a better connection to germans. She was a very open minded lady and so so so lovely but she had similar experiences like you had. She was wondering why she couldn't chat with her neighbour for example. Her neighbour was always so backtaken – at least that was her impression. I told her that in my opinion the language is the door opener. Most of the Germans do speak english but not all. Some people aren't so experienced in speaking it and are just too shy or afraid to make to many mistakes….so I still think the language is the door opener no. 1. Well done though. You've learned it and you've adjusted to the whole situation. That's great. I am happy for you that it all turned out so good. I think having such a loving and caring husband did help too 😉

  22. You won't have any real significant culture shock if you move from the Netherlands to Germany, they are both Germanic.

    Poland is a whole different thing, they are slavic people.

    It's as alien to Germany as New Zealand is, so maybe not the best example xD.

    Anyway, 👍-up.

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