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Navigating Culture Shock: A Guiding Hand for Expatriates in Pittsburgh

Updated: Jan 4

Embarking on an international move to Pittsburgh is an exhilarating journey, but the phenomenon of Culture Shock is a reality that many expatriates encounter. Here's a heartfelt invitation to all those recent arrivals, especially accompanying spouses, to join our monthly meet-up group and connect with our secretary, Maria –


Culture Shock is a tangible disorientation stemming from contact with a foreign culture. The initial "honeymoon phase" is filled with a fascination for the new surroundings. However, the subsequent "rejection phase" can be challenging, marked by feelings of loneliness, homesickness, and disconnection.


  • Honeymoon Phase: Initial fascination with the new environment.

  • Rejection Phase: Difficulty coping, feeling isolated, and struggling with the differences.

  • Recovery Phase: Gradual acceptance of a different way of life, increased comfort, and control.

  • Adjustment Phase: Expats feel at home, gain confidence, and start enjoying their new life.


  • Expect and Plan: Anticipate culture shock, plan for it, and be proactive in addressing it.

  • Knowledge is Power: Read about the host country, plan an orientation visit, learn the language, and immerse yourself in local culture.

  • Social Integration: Attend social events, mingle with locals, and seek help when needed.

  • Positive Focus: Concentrate on the positive aspects of the experience, stepping out of your comfort zone for growth.

  • Journaling: Document your journey to gain a sense of security and track your progress.

Transitioning through Culture Shock is a shared experience. By embracing the advice provided, expatriates can navigate this transformative journey with greater ease. Remember, you are not alone, and there's a supportive community here to guide you through every phase.

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