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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Cascais, Portugal

May 22, 2013

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Santa Marta Lighthouse in Cascais, Portugal

An expat who moved to Cascais, Portugal has enjoys the kind, helpful and genuinely friendly Portuguese people. And, he appreciates the beautiful and, mainly, pristine beaches, forests, villages, towns, rivers and ocean.

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?


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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?

Portuguese is the national language. In our area most Portuguese speak English to some degree. Almost all TV is in English with Portuguese subtitles as most of the non-news & sports channels are from the US or UK.

I have not taken any language classes (I would like to) but am learning the language slowly through day exposure.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No. Different cultures is the reason you move abroad. If you experience culture "shock" you did not "do your homework" before making your move.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Very insignificant.

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?

NO...unless after three years I'm still in the "honeymoon phase". If I EVER go through "phases" I would leave!

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.

Hey, I'm retired in one of the most gorgeous locations in Europe, of course I've icreased my eating and drinking...but I've also vastly increase my beautiful sea side walk, biking, a d hiking.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Kind, helpful and genuinely friendly Portuguese people. The beautiful and, mainly, pristine beaches, forests, villages, towns, rivers and ocean.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Pace of life and government bureaucracy.

Pace of life is easy to adjust...slow down and enjoy.

When dealing with government agencies just be prepared for extreme bureaucracy.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

not that I know of.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Know and prepare for your "new" culture to avoid culture shock. Throw out all your preconceived ideas of you adopted culture, adjust, "go with the flow",have fun, learn and enjoy.

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May 31, 2017 12:45

Greetings. I enjoy this and other articles in ExpatExchange, but think they would all be improved if they were prominently dated. While some articles refer to census reports, it's not always easy to read in context with international events, season, recent changes in the laws, etc. Thanks

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