People are strange (or is it you?)

A view on the sea, a beautiful country, a new culture to discover how can you complain?

After all this is what we all want when we travel, new challenges, new encounters, friends, places…We need a change and we love this process of discovering everything. Still it’s not easy everyday and the new you were craving is the new you are hating sometimes.

I understand nothing, why people are so rude, why are they so mean. This habit is so stupid. Yes these thoughts could come to your mind if you are in a foreign environment and it’s …completely normal. This phase that I was going through has a name: Cultural shock.

As the name says it all it’s basically a shock, more or less long. I don’t think you have it every time you travel or maybe it’s not so strong so you don’t even realise it. I guess I had one when living in London but it wasn’t so important that it bothered me so much.

Why is the world so pink, when I am so green?

Here in Denmark it’s different. First because during all my previous travel I had the “honeymoon” phase you know when everything is pink, people are so cool, and the food, the culture is incredible. I think the best honey moon I had was in Israel. But I went to Denmark literally 5 days after leaving Israel. I left my honeymoon for a different place. Where I literally crashed.

The social life in Denmark is very different to everything I experienced before: in London it’s harder to connect on a deeper level with people, however they are very polite and nice so you can still have a social life even if you just arrived and there are plenty of foreigners in the same situation so you bond pretty quickly.

In Africa, everyone would say hello in the street so ultra social and curious, but I wasn’t staying and the cultural differences were quite important. However I still had friends and it was nice and easy to feel integrated.

In Israel it was just incredible, in no time I was feeling home and it was very quick to bond with other volunteers. Israelis are pretty blunt and straight forward but very warm and welcoming. I guess the bubble that the kibbutz is, is also a very special environment.

Danes on the other hand are very reserved comparing to those cultures. They value privacy and independence. They don’t want to bother you. The social standards are very different. I think that was the biggest shock for me. I realised the social aspect was incredibly important to be able to feel good in a new environment and here it is taking forever to make friends. However now I understand what is going on and why, so I guess it helps to get better and be more tolerant and open.

Plus now I have 17 new friends, in the same situation than me, thanks to EVS. Something I experienced everywhere I went: as foreigners you will bond in no time, whereas with locals it will always be a challenge.


4 thoughts on “People are strange (or is it you?)

  1. tantoverde says:

    I can tell you that I lived both in Norway and Sweden – in the former I was in exchange so I had fun. The latter was one of the most depressing time in my life. And I was there to study language – so there was absolutely no point in trying to hang around with foreigners. Still I think with time you can make friends (I succeed) and there are interesting people. In London I feel myself in the desert – I am super social, but I am not going to drink beer standing next to the bar till I fall. And it seems that none of people around me knows other way of entertaining themselves.


  2. thefrenchiebug says:

    Scandinavian countries are defintely very different when it comes to social rules etc..I don’t know if you heard about but I like to check it out when I am interested into a country, and you can see how individualistic Denmark is for example. So that’s a big change for me for example because I really had a good time in more “collective” country. I also realised that I expected my Danish friend to act like my friends in France maybe, where I can’t really expect them to do that because the culture is so different so our friendship by nature is different!

    It’s surprising you don’t enjoy London so much, how long have you been there? I think the winter is terrible but you can still meet people, I didn’t struggle so much there


    • tantoverde says:

      Hahaha, as I studies International Relations Gert Hofstede was my good friend. I never took this too serious though, thinking you can’t measure a nation. Then, in Italy, I understood the guy was wright – I am from one of the most collectivistic countries, I don’t understand individualistic behavior
      I am in London something about 4 months.


  3. thefrenchiebug says:

    Yes it is indeed an interesting tool but it may be relevant only if you travel and see by your self. I think France is quite individualistic but in Scandinavia it’s to a whole other level. In Denmark I don’t really like some of the effect of it which is being afraid to disturb because independance is seen as a strength so asking for help put you in a “victim” position. This mindset can only create gap between people and we will stop helping each other. Also here the welfare system is very good and developped so some may think “why should I do something for my neighbour when the government can take care of that?” of course it doesn’t mean the welfare should stop but people should still be responsible for not being asshole sometimes :)

    Now reading your blog I get very curious about visiting Russia, I don’t know that country so well to be honest, from where I live we mostly here about Putin and he doesn’t give the best image of his country I am afraid…


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