Home Italy Forum Italy Guide Italy Resources Italy Real Estate International Jobs

Italy

Resources

City Guides

CIGNA Expat Health Insurance
Join Sign In
CIGNA Expat Health Insurance Italy

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Florence, Italy

Oct 05, 2016

Comments Print


Florence

An experienced expat provides amazing insight into life in Florence, and how unpredictable the settling in process can be - even for someone who has lived all over the world! From the beautiful countryside to struggling with the health care system, read about the experience of moving to Florence, Italy.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Florence

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No

Moving to Italy soon?

Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Sponsored by CIGNA.

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?

I am in the process of learning Italian, which is super necessary if you want to deal with anything official, including the healthcare system. I have had government healthcare providers hang up on me because my Italian was so bad and they did not want to slow down to allow me to understand.

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

Not at all. I have lived in 10 different countries in my lifetime - in Asia, North America, Europe & the Middle East. Culture shock is a natural process and I knew it would not all be honeymoon, though I thought being a European country it would be much easier than other places I have lived. Unfortunately this left me totally unprepared for just how difficult things would be.

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

Very significant. I was pretty shocked by the way I was spoken to in supermarkets and treated by the municipal healthcare providers. Getting my residency was especially tricky because I kept providing them with the documentation they requested, and they would then come back and put another barrier in place. Until I had an Italian friend come with me I was unable to to get my residency, when she did come with me they said everything was in place and they didn't actually need the last document they had requested.

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?

The honeymoon phase lasted about a week, which is unusually short for me. I know in a few months time I'll get past it, but Florence is a very lonely city for an expat, which makes it harder to settle.

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.

Definitely anger and depression, feeling so helpless.

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

I love the history, art, food, wine. The whole city and surrounding countryside are a feats for the eyes. And being so much closer to home as well really helps.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Trying to accept that as long as I have an accent I will always be treated as a second rate citizen

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'm aware of but I am sure they happened :)

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

Every place I have lived has been so different. Before I moved to Thailand I expected to experience huge culture shock, yet the transition was amazing and easy. Before moving to Italy, I expected less culture shock and experienced the most I have ever had! Just go anywhere expecting culture shock and know it's a natural process. If it's still unbearable after a year or two it's probably not the place for you.

On the Italy Expat Forum

Join our Italy Forum and talk with other expats in Italy who can offer you insight and tips about living in Italy. Here are a few of the latest discussions on the Italy Expat Forum:

Italy expat forum topic
Elective Residence Financial & Length of Stay (13 replies)

Hello, 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. TOPICS: 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! Shawn

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Permesso Renewal (16 replies)

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. Joe

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Italian National healthcare system (8 replies)

Please can someone give me details on paying into the Italian National Healthcare system as an alternative to buying private health care. Thank you in advance.

Post a Reply

AGS Worldwide Movers

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.

Comments about this Report

guest
Nov 23, 2016 23:59

The worst two years of my life!! I as well had lived in the Middle East, Africa and Asia before living there. Italy doesn't have to be so difficult, Italians just seem to enjoy making it that way. They'll tell you no just to watch you squirm. They'll enjoy putting road blocks in your way to getting things done and smile with sick pleasure. I loathe that place and will never step foot there again. Italians only like other Italians. They are not open, kind or helpful people.

Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Italy Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2018 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal