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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Peniche, Portugal

Aug 15, 2016

Peniche, Portugal

An expat in Peniche, Portugal talks about moving to Peniche and the culture shock he experienced. He never experienced "shock" as such. However, little things, experienced over months and months, seeped in and made him realized the cultural differences.

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?

I had ambitious (and fanciful) plans to learn Portuguese right after moving. Followed four months in a local school. It's now been 3 years and I can hardly order a meal in a restaurant.

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

Not sufficiently concerned.

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

It went smoothly in the beginning. It's little things, experienced over months and months, that seep in and make you realize the cultural differences (I wouldn't speak of a 'shock')

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?

That's exactly what I was trying to get at above.

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 of the above. But I realize that, owing to my appearance (6ft 5, very thin, white hair), I cannot dream of becoming physically assimilated in a land of dark hair, stocky people. I'm convinced the cultural assimilation would be easier if I were stocky and dark-haired.

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

Easy-going people, courageous, hospitable, poetry lovers.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

People, especially in this part of the country, are pretty tough, they lack refinement and subtlety.

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Comments about this Report

Sep 5, 2016 12:37

Hello, It is good to know that you are not regretting your moved after all, you didn't mention it. My name is Alina, I am us citizen and Licensed physician Board Certified in Family Medicine, currently living in St Petersburg, Florida and looking into Portugal, specifically Algarve for moving temporary to permanent with my family. I am reaching out for help since I encounter very difficult finding information of medical doctors like me that have moved to Portugal, I found a website sent to me by another expat, with information for medical doctors ( foreign ) and as I understand, It appear that my US medical licensed is not valid in Portugal, do you happen to know of any case like mine? and if you do, could you please give me references so I can contact them for more information. Me and my family are looking forward to move to a safe country with a low crime score and a weather similar to Florida ( warm ), and Portugal seem to be perfect in that regard, I have found searching the web that Algarve is like so, but as far as my profession and all I need to know in order for me to move there, it is a different story and I start thinking that contrary to what I would love to do, there are no chances for me and I will probably have to change my mind moving to Portugal, Any idea in how I can obtain information ?, Please help.... Will be great and deeply appreciate it! Thank you:} and good luck to you as well!!!

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