Home Italy Forum Italy Guide Moving to Italy Real Estate Healthcare in Italy
Italy
Resources
City Guides
Cigna International Health Insurance
JoinSign In
Take the 2020 Expat Exchange Survey

Genoa >

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Genoa, Italy

Apr 01, 2015


Genoa, Italy

An American couple from Hawaii is spending their first year retirement in Genoa, Italy. They've been having a wonderful time exploring the coastal city and nearby cities. Learning Italian has been challenging for them. Luckily, they brought their two dogs, which has helped them meet more locals as they walk through the city.

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

Genoa

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

No, but I have traveled extensively and hosted foreign exchange students from Italy, Germany and Turkmenistan before living in Italy.

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?

We took language classes 4 hours a day, 3 days a week for the first 3 months we were here. My husband quit after that, but I took another month's worth of language class five days a week for 4 hours a day. Italian is very logical to pronounce - the grammar is somewhat difficult, but not insurmountable. My problem is I have no Italians with whom I can hold real conversations. Although the people are very nice, I have not been able to make any close friends here. They also talk extremely fast, so for me to understand them I have to request that they speak slowly.

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

no

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

not significant

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?

I love the culture of Italy. People are very nice and generally seem happy despite serious economic problems in the country. The only thing that is difficult/frustrating is dealing with the bureaucracy over the permesso di soggiorno. This is something you have to apply for within 7 days of arriving even though you have already obtained a 1 year visa from the consulate in your area of the United States. We started out at the commune of Genoa (Genova in Italian), were referred to the questura, who sent us to the post office. We went to 4 post offices which just told us something in Italian ending with finito before we finally found the right post office which had application packets. The application was all in Italian. After waiting a month or so, my husband and I had to go on different days to far apart areas of the city to take an Italian culture and government course, which was actually kind of interesting. Then, a month after that we finally got the permesso di sogiorno card.

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.

none

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

Genova is a beautiful and interesting city. There are always surprises to look at, i.e. statues, frescoes on old buildings when you wander around the somewhat dirty, mysterious alleys. The piazza around the old port is beautiful. There is a great acquarium and some restaurants where you can have dinner or drinks overlooking the yachts and the water. There is a little village called Bocadese which is now incorporated into Genova. It has a small beach where you can swim and looks very traditional. Another small village, Nervi, has a beautiful seacliff walkway with lots of restaurants. Genova is connected by rail with Cinque terre, Santa Margarita Ligure, Pisa, Milan, and Nice, France - all of which make interesting day or overnight trips. We brought our two dogs with us from the United States. Italians love dogs. They are allowed on buses, trains and in many restaurants. People stop on the street to pet and admire the dogs. There are water fountains for dogs everywhere. Italians seem to have a good sense of humor and are very nice, generally. There are many musical events to attend in various parts of Italy. Public transport is very good compared to the U.S. and traveling in a rental car on the highways is not difficult although Italian road designers seem to be obsessed with building tunnels, so you don't really get to see that much from the autostrada.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Being able to understand the language.

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

Living in Italy and working on learning a new language has been a very interesting way to spend our first year of retirement. It has been fascinating to be able to travel around and see all the cultural treasures of Europe during the off season without crowds. The winter was a bit cold for our tastes, because we are from Hawaii. We will probably return to Hawaii in the fall, but I would not have missed this wonderful experience.

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
Applying for Italian Citizenship in USA (33 replies)

Hello everyone. I have several questions so I will mark them starting with #1. I would like to apply for my Italian Citizenship along with my 2 adult children (18&21). My jurisdiction Italian Consulate is Chicago(I do not live in that state). I have sent 65 emails (no response)& called them for over 1 year & they do not answer the phone!! Maybe you can help me. I already have my father's Italian birth certificate from Italy, his marriage certificate and naturalization paper from USA. I have mine, my 2 adult children birth certificate with apostille.I have an appt for November, 2020, we have to fly to Chicago PLUS rent a car & hotel...and I made 1 appointment thinking my whole family will attended to at this appt, then I read in some forums each applicant must make hisher own appt?? If this is true what should I do?? We all need to be processed at the same time.....(That's #1 question) OK here's my other questions and sorry so many questions but I need to get to Italy ASAP as an Italian citizen. #2 -What other formsdocuments, where do I get the formsdocuments that I need and how much is the cost? Do I write a personal check or money order for each of these forms? #3-How long does the whole process take if I apply for my Italian citizenship in USA? #4- Do I need to prove any kind of fundssavings I have in bank or do I need to prove anything else??#5- I am on SSDI so I live on my money from SSDI, so I can not work or working. #6- What am I missing as far as what else I need? Thx in advance everyone...

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Unmarried couple with child. He qualifies for citizenship. (4 replies)

Hi. I’ve learned a bunch reading your posts (thank you) and I am wondering if you can please answer a couple of questions. My long-time live-in boyfriend of nearly 17 years, the father of our 3-year old daughter--my husband for intents and purposes, but not by law, qualifies for Italian citizenship. We just realized this last week. His grandmother was from Naples, married his American military grandfather, moved to the U.S., had a green card, never became naturalized, and had a daughter, his mom, who was born after 1948. His mom didn’t renounce her citizenship. Some research made this news less exciting as we realized he’d have to deal with the SF consulate, and that would probably take a very very long. We were already looking into moving to Europe (we checked out Portugal in November, and were aiming for long term residency there via d7 visa) when I stumbled upon this information, and it seems like a much better option for him and our daughter to have citizenship and have the ability to move around the EU. So we’d like to go to Italy to do the paperwork there because it would be faster, and also, because we were already wanting to go somewhere for an adventure. But how would that work out for me? Would I be subjected to regular Schengen visa time limits and not granted a permesso di soggiorno because we’re not married? Or would I be able to be able to get a permesso di soggiorno along with my partner and our daughter? We’re not married because not married, but we could be married. We just never did that because I felt funny about the dress and wedding and fuss and all, and we were always working and moved quite a few times, and then a bunch of years passed. But so, we could get married if I can’t stay with them. Does anyone know the answer to this? And then, if the answer is that I’d have to deal with regular Schengen visa time limits, and then we decide to get married so that I can get a permesso di soggiorno also, would it matter to get married in the U.S. before we left or in Italy like a month or two into our time there? Thank you for your help.

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Do I have everything I need? (3 replies)

Good afternoon. I will be requesting dual citizenship(Italian Citizenship) in Italy. I was wondering if you kind people can help me out and if I have everything I need. I have 3 daughters 18, 22, 29 yrs old. I have my mothers birth certificate, marriage certificate, USA naturlization certificate. I have myself and my daughter's USA birth certificates with the Apostille and translated into Italian. I have my divorce decree translated in Italian. So I go to the Questura where I will be living in Italy and will they give me all the forms we need to fill out for Italian citizenship or does the post office give me the forms? What forms do we need and how much are they$$? After filling out the forms for each family member what type of payment do they take?(cash, money order?) Then after filling out the forms we just pop back in the Questura and tellthem we want Italian Citizenship (Dual)? How many days will we have to find us a place to live? When we get to Italy we must go to Questura and tell them we need to stay more than 3 months and why, correct? Is this when they issue the Permesso di soggiorno? Finally, how long will it take for us to become Italian Citizens? *I hope I have not missed any steps here if so please help me out and what the correct steps are. Grazie!

Post a Reply

Take the 2020 Expat Exchange Survey

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.
addacomment
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-Passignano-sul-TrasimenoAn Expat Talks about Moving to Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy

Imagine traveling in Italy, seeing a poster for an concert on a lake, attending the concert and finding a beautiful town, like Passignano sul Trasimeno. Dreams do come true!

Imagine traveling in Italy, seeing a poster for an concert on a lake, attending the concert and finding a beautiful town, like Passignano sul Trasimeno. Dreams do come true! ...

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