Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?
Yes, from my Italian sweetheart as well as my military service around the world.
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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?
No, I'm lazy but I know enough to get by.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Not so much but it living in Italy isn't all as glamours as it is when you simply visit for a few days or 2-3 weeks. The flare goes away quite quickly when you realize its a third world country in comparison to the USA e.g. medical, utilities, car costs, toll roads and fuel.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Moderate to significant but you will adjust after 6-8 months.
Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?
Yes, yes and yes. Once you become part of the fabric, you learn that its just another place but a lot more expensive! The food is great and that includes FRESH produce! It's the entire country is a Whole Foods store.
What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.
Frustration with store hours and the inferior quality of many goods. Oh, and forget about returning anything for any reason.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
People are usually more sincere after you’re accepted. Whatever you do, don't ever tell an Italian how its done better in America.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Well, I’m retired from the US Army and fiancée is Italian and lives in the north. I have visited there fairly often and I have also been stationed throughout Europe. It’s very pricy but the culture is very nice! However, there are drawbacks to all the glamour. American’s will have to accept many concessions as to lifestyle. Shops have segmented work hours; utilities are markedly higher, and you can completely forget about returning anything you buy, regardless of the reason. Theft is fairly common so watch your property and your back. Also, you need to consider medical provisions as well. Get sick and go to a doctor can be a real eye opener. BTW: If you think fuel prices are high in the US of A then you’ll get a rude awakening when you fill up a car in Italy. If that doesn’t affect you, the highway toll fees will. Still, the United States is clearly going to hell in a hand basket so these seemingly stark drawbacks may not be all that bad.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Don't expect people to smile and say hello as you pass someone on the street. They won't even make eye contact with you unless you're in the down town shopping districts.
I wash my car while bareback and I deeply offended a few people. It is considered very rude to display your body in public.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Don't tip as it is not required and they will consider you as stupid. Sure, they'll take it but they won't respect you. Also, drink your coffee slowly, regardless of the thimble size cups.
On the Italy Expat Forum
Expats in Carrara
Hi everyone, I’m looking at options to study sculpture in Italy and for obvious reasons I ended up with 2. Florence and Carrara. While there’s a stack of resources about Florence, I can’t seem to find any reliable info about everyday life in Carrara. Are there any expats living in or close by Carrara I could contact? Many thanks.
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Moving to Italia
I've been reading the posts and just joined the site as a member. We expect to move to Italy as soon as our house sells (July?), and have a lot of Qs. Any advice anyone can give is greatly appreciated.
First, some background in order to forego other preliminary questions. Wife is Italian, dual US; I am US only. Married 25+ yrs; registered with comune since 1993. Both 62+ yrs old. Moving for retirement to her hometown of Padova, where family lives. We intend to stay with them until we buy a house (apt, condo, ?), ASAP, no mortgage. Retirement income is limited to SS. Savings are not unlimited. Coming from California.
Now for the questions:
1) We might need a 20-ft container, max. Who is the best shipper at the cheapest price? Destination ports say Livorno (closest), but why not Mestre (which is geographically closer)? Since we don't yet have an address (staying with family until we buy), will the shipping company store the items until we send for them? At what cost?
More importantly, will I have to make wooden crates for our items in order for them to be stored in a company warehouse? Is it easier to buy my own shipping container and pack it for storage and later shipping? Are there any problems with that line of action? (ie- insurance, actually getting someone else to ship MY container? etc?). Seems like it would be easier all around, but what does one do with a used container in Italy?
2) I will need a PdiS. I can get that after arrival, if I understand correctly. Is my understanding correct? It seems like there are time limits (8 days) that may or may not apply to me as the spouse of a citizen. ???
3) My wife is on US Medi-Care, but I am not. Am I entitled to Italian healthcare as the spouse of an Italian citizen? Do I need my own health insurance instead? Current rules say that I must continue to pay for US Obamacare coverage for 9 months after departure from the US, which is stupid since I will not be able to use it at all. Any ideas on that? Also, can my wife, who will probably never return to live in the US, quit her Medi-Care without financial or other penalty? Also, since I may not be covered, can I at least get my US-over-the-counter meds through an Italian pharmacy without any problems? Seems like it should be easy to do, but . . .???
4) Does the restriction on importation of "art" include original items? Both of us are artists, with plenty of proof. Can we bring our own artwork with us without incurring import fees? Seems like we could so do, as ordinary (to us) household items, but Italian rules sometimes define their own path. Some of the art is large; one wants to avoid complications.
5) I have owned the same 70-yr old motorcycle for 37+ years but never had an original bill of sale (from my brother). There is plenty of proof (title, registration, etc). I ride it regularly to this day (proof of current registration and insurance). Can I bring this over without that "original bill of sale"? Is it now an "antique" subject to added fees? Or does the word "antique" only apply to art? Are there any other financial considerations that require attention? Are there any other considerations that are not financial? I don't wish to pay more in fees and other requirements than it is worth, so I am talking about admin fees, import duties, annual registrations, mechanical check-ups and other requirements like that. I can guarantee that it is not up to modern standards because it was made before modern times. We will not be bringing any other motor vehicles. If it is burdensome then it will stay here. But just in case, can I put it into the same shipping container (inside its own crate, of course) with the household goods?
6) We will bring 4x cats. Once we get the required documentation here, are there any barriers on that side? Does each cat require it's own shipping container? (seems like it would be a good idea even if not required, but I don't know that answer). Are there any things I should know about particular airline treatments for animals? (ie- who to avoid?). Any other info on how to bring those furry family members with us? Note: one cat is 19 yrs old; leaving her behind is the equivalent of an immediate death sentence, bringing her with us is only slightly better than that. I would bring her. Suggestions?
7) What to bring? No appliances, TVs, or lamps are coming with us, but what about a copier/scanner that is wired for both US and EU? Modem? Wi-Fi router? I understand there is an import duty on those electronic items. True? What about tools? I have a few electrical tools that are all US (saws, drills, etc). Ignoring the different electrical cycles (60 v. 50), should I buy a voltage transformer and just burn them out on the cycles? Seems cheaper than selling them for pennies here and buying brand new EU tools that may outlast me. Thoughts? What about pneumatic tools? Are the couplings different such as would require adaptors (remember: US threads on US couplings, the solution to which is to bring adaptor hoses with US couplings at one end and EU (metric thread) couplings at the other end). Also, I tend to work at home out of a garage. Is this a problem in Italy? Do Italians do this sort of thing? One wants to be a good neighbor. While this is almost expected here, it may not be so there. Is it even allowable to work out of one's garage, making noise and dust and such? I am not talking about a home-business such as would invite a visit from the Guardia di Finanza, but just making things. Advice?
I think that is all for now, but there is sure to be more. Any info is greatly appreciated, even if only to one part of my many questions. Thanks in advance. Henry.
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Permanent residency permit in Italy through Elective residency visa
Hello. I have applied for Elective residency visa for Italy. I have a lease agreement in my country Iran that supports my case.
I want to know if we( me and my family) could get permanent residency permit after 5 years living in Italy?
Any told me that for this I must pay tax for my income in Italy. As I pay tax in Iran, how is it possible?
And is it necessary for getting permanent residency permit?
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