culture shock

Barnga: A Card Game for Culture-Stress Show and Tell

by Craig Thompson on January 30, 2019

Have you ever wanted to show, not just tell, people what culture stress is like? Have you ever wanted them to be able to experience cross-cultural confusion without having to travel overseas? Have you ever heard about Barnga? Barnga is a simulation game created by Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan in 1980, while working for USAID in Gbarnga, Liberia. During […]

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Cultural Low Bridges

by Craig Thompson on September 26, 2018

When you go to a new culture and miss the signs . . . or don’t realize how you don’t exactly fit in. At first I thought I’d just let the above stand on its own . . . but I have more to say. I’m fascinated by these clips of trucks getting stopped in […]

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Moving Abroad Can Sure Mess with Your Autocomplete

by Craig Thompson on August 30, 2018

We can tell a lot about each other by looking at our autocompletes. For instance, start typing “I can’t find my” into a text message and see what it thinks will come next. For me, it’s “keys,” “wallet,” and “phone.” That’s pretty insightful: I have a car, I’m a guy, and I’m absent-minded enough to have my […]

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Missions Means Choosing the Desert

by Amy Medina on December 1, 2017

Earlier this year, I went through a season of insomnia.  A chaotic furlough, a new job, and lots of life change brought on anxiety, which bred sleeplessness, which bred more anxiety, until I was a mess. I lay awake many nights and begged God, “You know I need to sleep.  You know I can’t function […]

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6.5 Myths About Expat Life

by Rachel Pieh Jones on October 18, 2017

(this is a repost from Djibouti Jones) Myth 1: Adventure I’m an expatriate! Cue the Indiana Jones soundtrack, give me a whip and a cool hat, and let’s have an adventure! Okay my husband does have an Indiana Jones hat and I have used an Ethiopian whip, but life as an expatriate is not all […]

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When Missionaries Think They Know Everything

by Amy Medina on July 4, 2017

A few years ago, a video started making its way around my Facebook feed–shared by lots foreigners who live in my part of Africa.  The video showed two African men shoveling sand.  There was a very large pile of sand to their left.  The two men were shoveling the sand into a wheelbarrow, filling it […]

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Visiting Home Might Not Be Everything You Dreamed

by Amy Medina on April 30, 2017

When I’m overseas, I dream about Target.  Everything I need, all in one place, at reasonable prices!  So when our furlough started a month ago, I visited Target the day after I arrived. We’ve been missionaries for 13 years, so I should know better by now.  Target’s awesomeness can be a little too much to […]

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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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By Beth Barthelemy 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 […]

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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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