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Feb 1

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Monday, February 01, 2010

by Jennifer Kumar, Cross-Cultural Coach


Share Your Cross-Cultural Experiences

I have compiled a very long list of questions that you can answer to explore yourself regarding your life in other countries and cultures. Feel free to use these questions to interview yourself, to learn more about yourself on a deeper level. Living abroad can be fun and exciting, but when we learn about other ways of expressing life, it can hit us at our very core and values. Life is a learning expeirence whether we live abroad or stay in our hometown our entire life, use these questions as a guide line to explore yourself; a way to tell your story to yourself. You can also use these questions and answers as an outline to start writing your cross-cultural expat memoir.

If you'd like to send in the answers to your questions to have your story posted on this site along with the a list of other inspirational interviews, I'd be honored to have you join our list of ever growing contributors. Thank you.


Enjoy your cross-cultural authentic journeys.



What is your name (you can remain anonymous, too)?

If you provide your name: What is the meaning of your name? Is it a common name in your culture? Are you a male or female? (I can post a photo, if you’d like.)

What is your native country or culture?

Which language(s) is (are) your native language(s)?

Where do you live now?

Where are all the places you have lived?

Living or Staying Away from Home
How did you experience the culture of the different places you lived?

Have you experienced any place to be more open to outsiders than others? What are these places, and what aspects of them make them more open to outsiders?

Are there any aspects of other cultures you have lived in that you adapted into your life? What are these aspects/behaviors? How have they enriched your life?

Did you have to learn new languages when you moved to different places? Do you have some unique trivia about a language that you found out only after speaking it with locals?

What was interesting to you about the different places you lived or visited?

Is there anything about the culture, lifestyle or general knowledge of a place you had moved that surprised you or led to more awareness after you moved and found out the ‘truth’?

Learning about Other Cultures
How do you learn about other cultures or lifestyles while staying or living in one city?

What are some cultures or countries that fascinate you?

What entices you to learn more about these countries/cultures?

How do you find out more information about these cultures/countries?

What are some really interesting things you have learned about other cultures that you would like to share?

Which countries/cultures have you yet to experience that you want to experience?

Do you find opportunities to share about your culture with others? What are some topics others want to learn about your culture?

What are some aspects of your culture that you love and want to share with us?

What have you learned about your culture from an outsider that was interesting or curious to you?

Are you involved in cross-cultural, cultural, ethnic, international or expat organizations? Please share the names and links for the readers.

Do you work in a job that allows you to interact with people from different cultures or lifestyles? If so, share a little about what you do! Thanks.

Remaining Connected to your Native Culture
Is there a cultural group in your home-away-from-home that you attend? What is it called? How do you participate in this group? What are the main events or celebrations of this group?

Were you able to remain connected to your native culture? What aspects of your native culture are important for you to maintain and keep in your life?

Do you think it is easier to remain connected to your native culture in some places than others? Why is that?

What are some of the most interesting questions people have asked you about your country or culture you have never thought of before?

What are some unique trivia or facts you have learned about your own culture or country after moving abroad (and people asking you questions about it)?

Are there any misconceptions, myths or stereotypes about your country or culture that people outside your culture believe to be true? Are these statements valid? If you have lived in different countries, do different cultures and countries have different impressions (myths, misconceptions, stereotypes) of your country/culture? Share your thoughts, a few myths and your impressions on these myths.

As you adjust to different cultures or lifestyles, how does that affect your bond or connection with your native culture? Do you balance the aspects of different lifestyles? Share any examples that come to mind.

What do you like best about your native country or culture that you’d like to share with us!?

What qualities do you think your country or culture could benefit from another culture?

What are some qualities of your culture or country that you feel other countries or cultures could benefit from?

What are some of the best qualities you have found in your native culture and other cultures in the world? (Share at least three examples; list the country/culture and the trait. Teach us what the trait is.)

Lifestyle and Social Adjustment:

Are there any cultural or social norms or communication patterns that you had to adjust to? Are there some you don’t understand and find difficult to adjust to? Please share your experiences.

What are some tips or tricks you have learned to adjust to new places when you are a new resident?

Do you have any tips or strategies you use to make new friends with people from different cultures?

“Culture shock” and “reverse culture shock” are terms used when facing adjustment challenges in moving to new countries or back home. Have you experienced “culture shock” and/or “reverse culture shock”? Please share one or two examples.

Have you given advice to others about culture shock based on your own experiences? What are a few pieces of advice you’d give to someone about culture shock?

If you like to try foods from the different places you have lived, what are some dishes that are memorable or that you liked very much? What were some dishes you tried and did not like? Were there any foods you had that you did not expect to find in a particular place?

Moving Children Abroad

How did you prepare to move your son abroad? What do you think are the unique aspects of preparing a child to move abroad (or move in general) as compared to an adult? Do you think there are some issues that are common to both parents and children?

Changing Identity Through Citizenship
Have you changed your citizenship from your native citizenship? How does changing your citizenship affect your connection with your native and new cultures?

If you have changed citizenship, do you have any suggestions or advice for those thinking about changing their citizenship? Feel free to share a two or three pieces of advice.

As you adjust to different cultures or lifestyles, how does that affect your bond or connection with your native culture? Do you balance the aspects of different lifestyles? Share any examples that come to mind.

How does moving and adjusting to new cultures and lifestyles affect your personal growth? Your relationships with your family and friends ‘back home’? How do you think it would be different or similar if you had never left your hometown (native place)?

Questions from another Perspective
See this post for the questions-
On the Move: How have you absorbed culture shock?

I appreciate your interest in participating. If any other questions come to mind you would like me to add to this list, let me know. This list is not exhaustive.

Enjoy! Eager to get to know you and your culture!



Updated List- Click here

Inspiring Individuals Living Cross-Cultural Lifestyles Around the World. Archive of Cross-Cultural Interviews.

A British Family Settled in Nairobi, Kenya
Africa Expat Wives Club (UK in Kenya)

Anu's Authentic Journey - Marrying Indian Culture with Small Town America
Anu came from India to small town America in 2006. Moving from Mumbai to Oregon brings a lot of changes. How does Anu balance her new found identity in small town America with her Indian identity? How does she stay connected to her roots and nourish herself while balancing cultural integration being married into an American family? Click in to read some of her story. Thanks for sharing Anu. 

The Authentic Journey of Barbara: An American in Italy
Experiences of an American living life in Italy as an Italian! She has fully immersed herself into the culture by marrying an Italian (who doesn't know English), raising her child (who was born in America) there and starting her own business! How inspiring.
Barbara's Top 20 List of Interesting Things I've found in Italy

Binu John

Palm Sunday In America and in India
Binu shares his thoughts and experiences about Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a goat, heralded in by the local villagers with the fanning of palm leaves, days before Easter.  The interview also provides links to games, crafts and songs for children, videos about Palm Sunday and links to bible scriptures that can be read on this holy day.

Deepa & Brijesh Nair
Part 1: Lessons on Maintaining Identity Away From One’s Native Culture and Country      
Learning to stay connected to one's culture and identity can be a challenge when living in another country as an international student, foreigner or expat. Have you faced that? Brijesh and Deepa share some of their lessons on maintaining their identity away from their native culture and country of India while they stayed in U.S.A.

Part 2: Process of Moving Back and Re-Integration into ‘A More Familiar Place’

Making a decision to move home after years away can be tricky whether we live a few towns away or a few continents away. What are some factors that can be weighed in the decision making process? How far ahead of time are such decisions thought of and planned out for? What are some of the adjustment factors that seriously considered? Are these decisions different based on the location of the move? Click in to read some experiences of Brijesh and Deepa in their planning to return to India after being NRIs abroad.

Part 3: College Culture in India
College culture for students and staff have changed in India since Deepa and Brijesh left and returned to India over the past 10 years. What are some of the changes and current conditions they have noticed working as professors in Vellore Institute of Technology in South India (Tamil Nadu)?

Jon Herrin

Life Outside U.S.A.: Appreciating Diverse Lifestyles in South America
An American's journey from the South of U.S.A to the South Americas is an intriguing story of cross-cultural lifestyles and learning about the world!  Click in to read the story of Jon Herrin's journey from America to Mexico.

Lisa C. James

My So-Called Jeevitham

Part 1 of 3: From U.S. to India - The Struggles of Identifying with India While Growing up in America

Growing up in America has some perks. However, when one's parents don't identify themselves as American or 'act American' at home, this offers both gifts and challenges. Experience growing up in America while trying to balance an Indian and American identity through Lisa's eyes in this three part series that takes Lisa from America across the seven seas to .... India!

Part 2 of 3: India it is!
What happens when a move around the world seems to happen overnight? Does it mean it's meant to be or does it mean something more, something greater, something mysterious and life-defining? Click in to read what happens to Lisa as her life's journey takes her what seems haphazardly to .... a place less familiar than expected!

Part 3 of 3: Fighting Stereotypes and Embracing Identity
Wonder what it's like to look Indian but feel American in India? I would guess it's a bit like being a fish out of water; as we say here in America. Reading Lisa's account, I can imagine it was. On the outside, Lisa blends in and looks 'like everyone else' because of her Indian heritage, but on the inside which starts to come out- everyone including her realizes something else is underneath it all. You have to click in to read her expeirences finding and fighting stereotypes and identity in India and also following once returning back to 'the States'.

Margarita Gokun Silver
The Authentic Journey of Margarita Gokun Silver: Musings of Multi and Cross-Cultural Life, Sharing and Mentoring from Russia and Beyond
Margarita, originally from Russia currently lives in U.S.A.. She has also enjoyed living a cross-cultural lifestyle in Argentina and other international locations. She uses her experiences to helpe others adjust to different cultures and lifestyles.

NRI Maami
Inspirational Bloggers: NRI Maami's Expression of Indian Culture in America
Trying myself to recreate the culture I experienced in Tamil Nadu, India that holds a soft spot in my heart, I continue to look for Tamil bloggers based in America for inspiration on creating the mood, spirit and physical-look of India and Hindu culture here in America. In that search, I have found and been overwhelmingly influenced by NRI Maami.  With her permission, I have created a wonderful photo story of her expressions of Indian and Tamil culture here in America- including celebrations of Navarathri (including tutorial on how to create golu steps), Diwali, Avan Avittam, Ganesh Chathurthi, Krishna Jayanthi and others. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the world, NRI Maami.

Radhika Vasanth

The Authentic Journey of Cuisine: Radhika's Love for Cooking, Food and Cross-Cultural Living
Radhika, born and raised in India now in U.S. loves to combine her love for Indian culture and other ethnic cuisnes into her palate here in U.S.A.

Inspirational Ganapathi Idols by Roopashri and her friends
Sankranti Traditions from India to America
Lord Ganesh inspires the creative artist within us during Ganesh Chathurthi. This year, I wanted to make a different kind of handmade murthi (idol) and while doing some internet research, found a wonderful collection of handmade Ganeshas on a blog authored by Roopashri. With her and her friend's permission, this post of inspirational handmade Ganesh murthis is possible.   

Sanjay Krishnan and Julie
Williams Krishnan
The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie (Part 1 of 3) - Two People Living Their Best Life Possible Above and Beyond Culture and Appearances
Having known Sanjay for over 10 years, I was excited he'd agree to share his thoughts on cross-cultural living here on my blog with his down-to-earth wife, Julie. I met Julie in person last year and immediately understood how these two hit it off! I am so honored that they decided to share about their life and times here on my blog and really challenged the questions as I posed them! Thanks! (Since the interview and questions are lengthy, I will be posting it in three parts this week! Enjoy!) 

The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie: The Languages of Love (Part 2 of 3)
Ok, so when you meet your spouse abroad, in a home away from home for both of you, and have to adapt and adopt different cultures and languages, what wins? Many people may wonder, and for each person it can differ! Click in to read the experiences of Julie and Sanjay when adapting, adopting and communicating in the three languages of their relationship- U.K. English, American English and Tamil. 

The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie: Yes, UK and USA are Different Countries! (Part 3 of 3)
Well, of course, United Kingdom and United States are two different countries, we learned that in history class- the map tells us so, but what makes them unique? Is it possible to have culture shock when moving between these two nations? Julie and Sanjay share their thoughts on this and other cross-cultural topics.

Sneha Nair
An Indian in China: Interview with Kochi-ite Sneha Krishnan
To Sneha, her life is quite normal. But, to me, looking in and seeing an Indian studying in China, it’s new to me! Though it’s not new for Indians to study in China, it’s a new piece of information for me. Today, I share an exciting interview with Sneha, a Keralite living in China.  About Jennifer Kumar creator of this interview series. Jennifer is a cross-cultural coach helping people figure out how to feel comfortable in their new surroundings by getting to know you and helping you create long-lasting solutions that will help you weather life changes, cultural change, and more!

Do you relate to any of these expat stories? Maybe you're an international student, expat wife, in a cross-cultural relationship, considering an interfaith marriage, a 'third culture kid' (TCK), or someone finding it challenging to adjust to a new culture, lifestyle or country. Would you like some help to sort all that out? I am a cross-cultural coach and mentor,
contact me for details or see more details about what I do here.

Thank you for spending your time on Alaivani.com.

 Updated February 2011


Copyright ©2010 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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