Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Palermo Sicily, Italy
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?
Absolutely nothing before I left
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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?
Learned the language after I arrived.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Not too much...always thought that Europe was more advanced...well some countries are but not Spain and Italy.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
VERY VERY significant. HUGE!!
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?
Never was a honeymoon stage...spent 2 years in Spain but the real nightmare began when I accepted a contract to work in Sicily.
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.
Yes, anger...frustration...drinking more, definitely depression....but I had a very very bad time when I arrived in Sicily. Palermo is not a good city to move to at all.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
The people are so lazy that they never complain about anything. The people seem to be kind. Food is good. I do love the water and the mountains.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
the mentality! These people are something else. Palermo is the wild wild west. Also, the loneliness. This can be a real winner!
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
To reduce culture shock you should have the following before you go:
Speak the lingo.
Try to have at least a friend or two to call on when you arrive
Research the particular area to find out what the place is like... better yet visit for a week and do some hands on research and then move there prepared.
Go with a significant other or family member so you have someone to talk to.
On the Italy Expat Forum
More Visa Dates...
Hi to everyone!
Thank you again to all who helped on my last post. It was great of you, and I am just very thankful to all!
So I am starting a new post because I have a new issue with my visa dates...
I sent my visa back to the consulate (as they finally told me that I could), with ultra-clear instructions for the date changes. They sent it back very quick.
The arrival date they corrected and that is now fine, but the return date is the issue.
I requested a 365 day visa (which they did not give me the first time around). They granted it to me this time around by stating on the visa that I can stay or 365 days.
But... the return date that they put on my visa is about 14 days PAST 365 days, and that is very obvious on the visa when looking at the arrival and return dates.
I am concerned that this could be a problem...what do you all think? At this point, I have spent a lot of money going down to Miami, and then re-sending the visa overnight mail and sending it back to myself overnight mail, and I am hesitant to complicate the situation needlessly.
Should I just leave it as is or question them again? Any thoughts?
Thank you again to everyone!
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Less then a year away!
Hi guys, I am reaching out again as I am really struggling on how to get planning for my move. I am a 32 year old from Chicago planning on moving to Rome with my boyfriend in May. (only 10 months away).
I was born and raised in Poland but got my American citizenship about 2 years ago. I have a valid Polish and American passport. My boyfriend on the other hand, only has U.S. citzenship. His great-grandparents immigrated here from Sicily. (not sure if this helps his case).
Anyway, from my understanding. I can legally move to Italy without a visa or sponsorship using my Polish passport. How does my boyfriend go about starting his process to be able to go and live/work there legally?
Additionally, we both plan on moving there without having jobs there. We are bringing our savings (approx. $15,000 USD.) Was hoping to maybe start off with an airbnb situation until we can figure out where to rent etc. When we get there the goal is to pick up a job in a bar/restaurant or even better for a travel company or tour company. My boyfriend and I both have hospitality and travel/tourism backgrounds.
This is our dream and we want to make it happen despite any challenges. Guys, any info or direction would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you in advance
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Since people look onto this forum for guidance to how to make the move to Italy, perhaps this forum should also discuss the problem of Expat Fatigue. NeoExpats are full of hope, wonder, anxiety, sense of adventure, willingness to new experiences and tastes and meeting new people. When you first make your move everything is new. Everything is a challenge to be solved. The amazing restaurants with wonderfully fresh fish and vegetables, the incredible variety of local and regional wines, the exotic scenery and the wonderfully mild weather vindicates that difficult decision that you had to make to make the move. There are problems. There are always problems but they are quaint and humorous. Waiting online at the post offices while the customer at the only open window discusses her life with the teller who does not appear to have any urgency. Having to wait hours with immigrants to see government officials so you can get the documents you need only to find out that the officials had to go to another city to process the latest boat load of immigrants, is also quaint. After all what else do you have to do with your time?………………… Overtime things and attitudes change. The new and exotic becomes the old and mundane. All those restaurants now appear to have the same few dishes with only aesthetic differences but basically its all the same food. That huge variety of local and regional wines do not include the great wines of the world, just the same local stuff all the time. If you want a California Chardonnay or a Rhone Cote Rotie, you’re out of luck. Those quaint driving habits of the locals become reason for road rage on your part when you finally recognize that its actually incompetence behind the wheel. And then you really get angry when you consider that for you to get a license you have to go to driving school knowing that you already drive better than most of the people on the roads. That includes the police……………….. It’s not so much home sickness. Two weeks in the States proves to me that its not the USA that I miss. It’s the reason I became an expat in the first place. Its the New, the exotic, the change, the new experiences. Those things are easily found and more easily lost. Its important to consider this when making your plans. Are you leaving your old home because you’re tired of the same old, same old? Well then you are likely to find it again wherever you go. For me the solution is to keep moving. Give each place a few years and then seek some other place. Its not a longterm solution because eventually I will be too old to keep doing that but for now that is the plan. I understood this from the beginning and that is why we have not purchased a home. We rent so that we can easily un-rent and move on. Thats my solution but it may not be yours. However I just wanted to let the NeoExpats know about this. Looking forward to others points of view.
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