Home Italy Forum Italy Guide Moving to Italy Real Estate Healthcare in Italy
Italy
Resources
City Guides
JoinSign In
CIGNA Expat Health Insurance Italy

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Scandriglia, Italy


One expat who moved to Scandriglia, Italy appreciates the absolute beauty and says that where she lives brings the most joy of anything she has ever seen. Language has been the biggest challenge since her daughters are older and the local school wasn't prepared to handle that. So, they are being home schooled.

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

Scandriglia

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

No training but experience. We (my daughters and I) stayed for a month each year with my fiance. Fast lesson; visit is not the same as living.

Expats living in Italy interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Italy interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, 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 don't speak the language and struggle. It was worse for my daughters as they were older and the schools are not prepared for students that have limited knowledge. We found that to be the most difficult challenge. After two years we had no choice but to implement home schooling as well. The other children were wonderful however the teachers would not even slow down for them and would yell increasingly at my older daughter (middle school) that she learn the language of give an answer that she didn't understand. This was too much pressure and frustration for them.

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

No. I had wonderful visits each time and the schools were interviewed beforehand. The administrator was very enthusiastic to have the girls and we foresaw no problems. Any other time we were treated very well for being tourists.

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

To us it was very significant. The language is only one part (a huge part however. Every and any relationship with other Italians are based on that). I do still have problems finding some basic medicines that have to be sent from the US (migraine meds like BC, etc). As others have posted, stores are limited, goods are a different quality and for much better clothing, etc (we can go to Rome) they are very expensive for quality and comfort. It is difficult at times to be known as , "la signora di America" instead of my name or stared at in many moments when we are known to be from elsewhere. At the local place we go bowling, we spent some hours there. In that time, there had been two birthday parties and then just the workers. Each group of people would stop playing their games to watch us for many minutes and the man whom worked the other side of the alley settled himself at the end of our lane to just stare at us any time there were not people needing any shoes, etc. Only one example but it does happen.

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 to all! There are still moments of anger for some differences that are frustrations for Italians as much as for me (some beaurocracy, red tape, limits, etc). Then there are moments I am aware of that I know I could never in my life have in the US for the wonderful culture some keep to them (meeting people from the older generation here stays very close to my heart; there are no others in the world with the stories, the perspectives on life and the advice they give to another in a moment you never would expect it).

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.

For certain there was anger as well as depression. I have gained quite a bit since moving here and homesickness has hit hard (especially the holidays). I can add that my husband is fluent in Italian (well he is Italian) and that has been the most contributing factor to our stress. While trying to struggle with the language, it is difficult for many Italians to be able to slow down in conversation and sometimes becomes an irritant to them so they ignore us completely or speak over me to speak only to my husband. This is especially true with schools to the point where I have just waited outside the office for the frustration.

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

Oh my dear, the absolute beauty. Where we live brings the most joy of anything I have ever seen. While it is true that there is crime in some robbery it is also true that you are really safe from shooting, drugs, gangs, etc. When we searched for a home to buy I was really amazed to be looking for a home in prices based on the distance from services and age of the home as vs what I would have done in America; searching based on crime in the city or areas. It is true that when you are finally accepted you have true friends here and they are very close.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Nough said on language. Being accepted can be difficult. People are very good here. You can run into people wary of you because you are not Italian, however. I have found there is a difference in how you are treated in many cases based on being a visitor or living here. Many neighbors, etc were very excited and eager to talk to us as visitors but closed up completely when we were known as occupants. Limits for a future for my daughters was frustrating. It is frustrating for Italian youth as well but we have had to face, after much research, that there are many limits to succeed here for young people and even more for young girls whom do not have an appearance in weight and looks that are preferred for occupations open to them; our nearest city, Rome is especially true in this.

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

Yes, absolutely. In one I can't even tell you because I somehow spoke the words in translation in a different order and insulted the other person. My husband was unconcerned and said if you understand I am not fluent then I was easily understood but somehow I said something I am not sure of to this day (smile). The other was when I was sick and had to get the girls to the bus stop so I just walked down there in my very large, fuzzy penguin pj's and oversized t-shirt. When I got there I was still half asleep and didn't notice all the parents had stopped talking and were staring at me. My daughters looked at me, looked at them and moved to the other side, stating that I wasn't really their mother in Italian. This did make the other parents laugh.

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

The same as anyone else before me; prepare for a simpler life and don't compare the cultures. Not even in your own mind. Learn as much of the language as you can and never say that there is something better in America then here. Answer questions truthfully about America but add something positive about Italy in the next breath. Italians still do the same as Americans in complaining about many things from their country but you have to always be respectful that you are not from their country and have boundaries in respect to their country. Don't be so hard on yourself and get a thick skin. The culture is different even in the way respect is given. Until you are very good friends, be more brief in first encounters and be open about the fact that you need their patience. Never speak to anyone as if they are wrong for not knowing your language and always convey your awareness that you need to learn theirs better.

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
Residency & Citizenship (4 replies)

Buongiorno We will be arriving in Italia to get our Citizenship recognized. There are a few procedures I need to get more information on. Will we need 3 original sets of documents for each application, meaning 1 set of documents for PdS, a set of documents for Residency, a set of documents for citizenship - set of documents meaning birth certificate,, etc...? Wherever we get our citizenship recognized will that be our "home" commune where we apply? If we move from that commune if we need paperwork or anything after having our citizenship recognized we contact them? what will we receive in the end what document is it that we are recognized as citizens? Do we apply for Italian passport right after we receive citizenship? Where do you apply for that? Can we apply for passport while citizenship being processed? Can any of the PdS packet forms or citizenship forms be accessed before we leave for Italy so I can print them? Is their a fee schedule somewhere that has the current fees for Pds & citizenship?

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Lenght of rental contract? (6 replies)

When applying for an Elective Residency visa a rental contract must by presented along with other documents at the time of one's interview. Is a 6 month agreement acceptable? How about 1 year? I do know the rental contract has to be in the applicant's name and registered with local authorities.

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Italian Passport American Passport (18 replies)

My citizenship for Italy just got accepted. All the Italian laws are very new to me. My sister in Italy is disabled from a car accident and I really need to be with her at least for 5 months out of the year in Italy. I cannot stay at her house unfortunately she has a very abusive & controlling husbandv ( yes I tried EVERYTHING) to convince her to leave to get counseling and offered her to leave and stay with me) but she needs me. He will not let me stay there at their home. If I go out 182 days per year to be with my sister and just stay in a motel or season rental or even b&bair and I am registered under AIRE can I just stay as a Italian Citizen not resident and stay 182 days or under that amount of days to avoid paying taxes, for example taking a long vacation but I'm really there for my sister. I own my own company so I have employees who can run it for me. I have money to sustain me while in Italy. I cannot at the moment move to Italy as I own my Company and it just cannot be at this time. If this can be done I would love to do this and be with my sister. I will use the Italian Passport when coming to Italy & the American to go back?

Post a Reply

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.
addacomment

Comments about this Report

SouthernCrossing
Sep 16, 2013 15:53

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to give this rather detailed review of your expat experience(s) in Italy! I am rather charmed by the review and although Italy really isn't on our 'radar' as far as an expat destination for us - your review is bringing it into view!

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Italy from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Expat-Italy10 Tips for Living in Italy

Italy is a dream destination for many, but some expats have difficulty adjusting to the rustic Italian lifestyle. Expats share their top tips for living in Italy.

Italy is a dream destination for many, but some expats have difficulty adjusting to the rustic Italian lifestyle. Expats share their top tips for living in Italy. ...

Retiring-Abroad5 Great Places to Retire in Western Europe

We asked expats about great places to retire in Western Europe. While many Western European countries have prohibitively high living costs, there are a few areas that fit the retirement bill. These are some of the recommendations!

We asked expats about great places to retire in Western Europe. While many Western European countries have prohibitively high living costs, there are a few areas that fit the retirement bill. These ...

Retiring-in-ItalyRetiring in Italy: The 7 Best Places to Retire in Italy

Italy's villages and cities appeal to retirees for many different reasons - the beautiful beaches, breathtaking countryside, amazing food, wonderful nightlife, bustling town markets and welcoming people. In this article, we cover several of our readers' favorite places.

Italy's villages and cities appeal to retirees for many different reasons - the beautiful beaches, breathtaking countryside, amazing food, wonderful nightlife, bustling town markets and welcoming peop...

Retirement-In-MinturnoAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Minturno, Italy

An expat who retired in Minturno, Italy talks about health insurance, cost of living in Italy, residence permits and much more.

An expat who retired in Minturno, Italy talks about health insurance, cost of living in Italy, residence permits and much more....

Moving-To-MinturnoAn Expat Talks about Moving to Minturno, Italy

An expat in Italy shares some thoughts about moving to Minturno, Italy, including how they gradually moved there and the costs associated with the transition. Also includes some ideas for what to bring to Italy with you, and what to leave at home.

An expat in Italy shares some thoughts about moving to Minturno, Italy, including how they gradually moved there and the costs associated with the transition. Also includes some ideas for what to b...

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

Copyright 1997-2020 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal