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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Cascais , Portugal

Aug 07, 2021


Centro Historico in Cascais, Portugal

An American who moved to Cascais talks about what it's like adjusting to life in Portugal. Her biggest challenges: the language and bureaucracy.

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

Cascais

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

No

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Expats in Portugal may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..

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 now speak a bit and learned it after I arrived. Scheduled to begin taking lessons again this month.

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

No

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

Minimal

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 really didn't experience any of the mentioned stages other than honeymoon stage. I've never been angry other than a few specific struggles I experienced with long waiting times for appointments and a few Portuguese websites.

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.

A bit of increased eating and drinking.

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

The slower pace of life, the rich history, the kindness of the Portuguese people, lack of guns, safety, frequent farmer's markets and heritage festivals (pre-Covid-19).

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The language! Slow moving bureaucracy.

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

I'm sure I did but can’t recall specifics.

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

Being prepared and very motivated to move was the biggest factor in my minimal culture shock. I read about too many people who make the move without spending very much or any time in Europe or any other country besides their own. Spend a significant amount of time outside your home country, rent apartments rather than stay in hotels. Spend at least a week each place, shop, use the public transport and live a bit like a local before deciding if the culture is comfortable.

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Cascais, PortugalGuide to Living in Cascais, Portugal

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Portugal Forum Portugal Forum
Join our Portugal forum to meet other people living in Cascais, Portugal.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Cascais.

Cascais, PortugalHealthcare in Cascais, Portugal

Expats and global nomads in Cascais share their experiences with health insurance, healthcare in Portugal, local hospitals and specialists, quality of medical care and more.

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Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Cascais: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

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Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Cascais , Portugal.

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Expats share their experiences living in Cascais, Portugal and offer advice about meeting people, schools and more.

Expat Report: Living in Cascais

A retiree in Cascais, Portugal warns people that they may be spoiled if they move to Cascais, because it's so beautiful and wonderful. She advises newcomers to join clubs and organizations to meet people, like the Royal British Club.

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Here is a wonderful, detailed report about what it's like to retire in Portugal. Written by a woman with dual US/Dutch citizenship, she has left no stone unturned!

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An American who moved to Cascais talks about what it's like adjusting to life in Portugal. Her biggest challenges: the language and bureaucracy.

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