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?
All we got from the company was a house hunting trip. Most you learn after you arrive.
Moving to Italy soon?
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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?
We started Rosetta Stone before leaving. It's really best to have as much Italian as you can prior to going. Younger people do speak some English, but most people say they do and don't really. Beware if they say ok, ok - they may not get your intent.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Yes, I knew the living spaces were significantly smaller and wondered how I'd adjust.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Huge! It's like a 3rd. world country except for the cell phones everywhere you look. Lots of graffiti. Run down buildings. Many business still running with paper and pencil. Store closures. Limited shopping hours. The extreme heat without a/c in the summer - and the heat indoors anytime it's slightly chilly outside. The medical care - no records kept at your doctors office, no lists of your meds at the pharmacy so you don't get drug interactions. And don't get me started on services for special needs kids...
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?
Went from a few days of "honeymoon" to dying to leave.....It takes a good year is where everyone told me. I'm thinking it takes longer...
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.
Depression, homesick, definitely. Especially when the internet has iffy connections or when it took months to even get it set up.
The continual mold on the walls of the bedrooms-- that no Italian we met thought was a problem.
Anger at the continual bureaucracy where ever you go. The sheer amount of paperwork needed to come. And then being told much of what the Italian embassy told you in the US was wrong or not had an apostle or wasn't an official translation of your child's birth certificate.
Medical care -- waiting hours for an x-ray at a facility you wonder is sanitary.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
Cheap wine, Fresh food , Rich history, learning a new language and watching my kids learn it.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
The claustrophobia of living so close to others, the small living accommodations, and tight spaces. Even the parks are small. And are only built to fit preschool sized children. Hard to find places for older kids to play outside. I think elementary school children must stay locked in their apartments when they aren't at school.
The crime: all the door locking, alarms, bars on the windows of peoples bedroom even in the suburbs.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
I do it all the time....most due to mispronunciations or verb tenses.
I wore shorts and a t-shirt out in my "garden" (think no grass, just bricks) due to what I'd call heat. I swear I have permanent heat stroke here. My landlord comes out of his apartment in long pants and a coat. I'm from the northern US. I got the funniest look from him. He can't understand why we haven't turned on the heat yet.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Please find out as much as you can about what life is really like there. See apartments of people - coworkers - so you can see how they really live. It takes hours to do a tiny load of laundry. While it is running, don't turn on any other appliance or you'll blow your fuses. And you may have to air dry that laundry all over your apartment because it rains for 3 days straight. You can hear all the neighbors all the time. And the ones across the street.
Elective Residence Financial & Length of Stay
My wife and I are looking to move to Italy for a period 1 year. We are reviewing the process to file for the Elective Residence Visa with the intention of living in Italy for the period of 1 year - we will be applying to the Chicago consulate.
I understand there are multiple requirements for this visa, however I am focused on locating bonafide answers on 2 topics - hopefully from people who have been through an identical situation as ours.
1) Regarding "Proof of Financial Means", I would like to specifically know if we can use our savings and only our savings to qualify for this section? There is a lot of conflicting information on this topic, some people say that you need "income", while others imply that savings will be sufficient, but I have not seen a post anywhere on the internet that describes an exact example of someone who has used ONLY savings to qualify, and not an income stream.
Among other significant assets, we have $250,000 in a savings account which we would use to fund our stay in Italy. Since we only plan on being there for a period of 1 year, I cannot imagine that this amount would not be enough to qualify us to have the "financial means" to spend the year in Italy without having to work - however I want to confirm this with someone, or multiple people who have qualified on their savings alone, and have not had to rely upon an income stream to show "Proof of Financial Means".
If there is someone who can help on this topic, it would also be great to know how you went about explaining in your visa application how your savings would be used to fund your time in Italy by using your savings account.
2) Regarding our length of stay in Italy, we plan on being there for 1 year. This seems like it would be straight forward enough since the maximum amount of time you can apply to be in Italy with the Elective Residence visa is up to 365 days (based on line 25. in the visa application).
I have read some comments that indicate the Elective Residence visa is intended for people who are permanently moving to Italy for retirement, there are a few conflicts that I can see with the thought that it is only for people permanently retiring to Italy, I'll get into those below - but the basic question here is "can someone who only intends to stay in Italy for the period of 1 year apply for this visa, or is it only for people who are intending to retire in Italy permanently?
In the instructions for the ER visa it states a few things that would indicate that the visa would be perfect for people who only want to be there for 1 year:
1) Line 25. of the application says that the maximum amount of time you can apply for is 365 days. One would believe that since the visa is only good for the period of 1 year in this instance, and that permanent retirement to Italy would last more than 365 days, that this visa is for people who are looking to be in Italy for between 91 - 365 days.
2) As part of the requirement to file for the ER visa, you need to have your flights booked, including your return flight. If the intention was that you were moving to Italy permanently, why would they ask to have the return flight booked?
To sum up the questions:
1) Can you show proof of financial means by using ONLY savings?
2) Can you apply for the ER visa with the intention of only going for 1 year?
Any information which would prove that applying for the ER visa is a reality under these circumstances would be fantastic!
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So today, a mere 10(!) months after I submitted my application here in Firenze, I went to the questura for another madness-inducing, three-hour "stand around and wait" afternoon and finally -- FINALLY -- got my permesso di soggiorno!
We were hoping to get a little time to breathe and savor the accomplishment, but of course, this Friday will be 60 days before the damn thing expires, which means it's time to jump right back in and begin the renewal process.
You were all so wonderfully helpful back when I was first applying, and I was wondering if you could help me with a few lingering questions to which I've only been able to find ambiguous and/or contradictory answers for.
1.) Aside from obviously checking the right box and including a photocopy of my soon-to-expire PDiS, is the renewal application process otherwise the same as the original application?
I was told that a renewal is simply verifying that the conditions of the first PDiS issuance are still valid, which would suggest that only updated documents are required. I'd like to know just how far that explanation goes.
2.) Will applying for the renewal with a different address than the original create any problems?
The original plan was to stay in my current apartment, but some unforeseen circumstances with the building and the landlord mean I'm going to have to move at the end of my current contract, which lines up with the expiration of my current PDiS. I have a new apartment and a new contract that aligns with the time period of the renewal, but I didn't know if simply changing the address at all would add any new headaches.
3.) Is registering with the commune/Anagrafe a *requirement* for the renewal?
I'm not asking if I should do it (I will), or anything else along those lines. I'm simply asking if it's a REQUIREMENT for the renewal process.
Many unofficial websites list it as one of the steps, but the implication is that it's an obvious and important thing to get done if you want health care, car registration, etc. I have yet to see anywhere if it's an objective requirement and that a renewal application will be rejected or otherwise not accepted without it.
I'm also just generally curious what your experiences were with your renewals. Straightforward? Sudden curveballs you weren't expecting?
Thank you in advance, folks. I appreciate any help or insights you can offer here.
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