culture shock

How Living Abroad is Like Marriage

by Rachel Pieh Jones on March 20, 2017

Compatibility is an achievement of love. It shouldn’t be its precondition. Alain de Botton The same could be said for living abroad. I hear many people say they ‘fell in love with Africa’ as soon as their feet touched the ground off the plane. I’m not sure how Kenyan or Nigerian or Burundian tarmac has […]

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It’s been almost six months since we stepped off the plane and onto South African soil. Six months of glorious new experiences, of meeting new people and trying new foods, of seeing new sights and relishing (mostly) sunny weather… and six months of that dreaded companion known to all cross-cultural workers: culture shock. This is […]

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Dear Life Abroad — I’ll keep my identity, thanks.

by Jerry Jones on January 25, 2017

“Loss of identity.” It makes every list doesn’t it?  Right near the top.  Up there with rootlessness, culture shock and horrible toilets. When you take a two column, pros and cons approach to life abroad, the word “identity” rarely makes it into the pro column.  In fact, if you compiled the sum of all of the […]

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Don’t Ask Me About My Christmas Traditions

by Amy Medina on December 1, 2016

My first Christmas on African soil was when I had just turned six years old.  We had arrived in Liberia only three weeks earlier, and my mom was in the throes of major culture shock.  My parents had shipped over a few presents, but nothing else for Christmas.  My mom managed to find a two-foot […]

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Culture Stress, when There’s No Hook to Hang It On

by Craig Thompson on April 22, 2016

When most people open up their closets in the morning, they usually ignore the out-of-style shirts on the edge, the wrong-color sweaters, the too-tight pants. Instead, as much as they can, they grab something that looks right, something that fits right, something that feels right. When you transition between countries, your cultural closets get switched. Your choices become limited, and you often have to put […]

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America, Meet the World

by Chris Lautsbaugh on March 18, 2016

Hello America. Meet the Rest of the World. Note: This is not a political post but one of identification. The closer we get to the election in the United States, the more comments, eye rolling, and jokes I am hearing as an American living overseas. My journey as an American in missions has spanned over […]

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I Believe, Help My Unbelief

by Chris Lautsbaugh on December 30, 2015

In work, ministry, and life we all experience frequent seasons when things don’t work out quite the way we had hoped. In missions, our internal dialogues consist of “Am I making a difference?” or “Will these things ever change?” When we are trusting for provision, for a breakthrough in our health, or seeing a life […]

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Same Same, Thankfully

by Editor on November 3, 2015

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As I am in the middle of wading through culture shock,  I am so thankful for things that seem to transcend time zones and culture. Things that I know are the same no matter where I am or who I’m with or what language I’m (kind of) speaking. Like the normal, everyday things that make […]

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The Far Side of Somewhere

by Elizabeth Trotter on September 21, 2015

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I remember my first home service. All those awkward experiences like drinking water from the tap and flushing the toilet with potable water again. Or feeling naked and exposed with no metal security bars on the windows. Or handing payment to cashiers with two hands (like I do in Cambodia) and then being embarrassed, because […]

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Thoughts and Advice for a First-time Expat

by Marilyn on July 8, 2015

Ten commandments for Expats

A few weeks ago, someone who is moving overseas contacted me. This is her first time living overseas, she is going into the unknown, and wants to be as prepared as possible. Here is what I said to her: Dear Lucy (name has been changed) Wow – I’m excited for you and not a little […]

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The Normal Fallacy

by Rachel Pieh Jones on July 1, 2015

The Normal Fallacy

I stopped believing in ‘normal’ a long time ago and I can pinpoint the moment when the loss of that belief crystalized for me. I was in Minnesota, sitting in a hot tub at my parents’ home. Friends and family were eating brats and hot dogs, playing raucous games of spoons, enjoying the view of […]

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5 Thoughts for the Local Church

by Chris Lautsbaugh on June 17, 2015

The local church and missionaries on the field should be on the same team, but often a wedge of misunderstanding is driven between the two. There is a danger when missionaries feel entitled to the support of a local body. Many dig their own grave in destroying relationships with their sending churches. Equally, misunderstanding can come […]

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