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Adjusting to Expat Life in Latvia

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adminee
5/11/2009 11:49 EST

Hello ExpatExchange.com Members!

One area of interest for many expatriates is the need for assistance in
settling in and the management of culture shock. In order to identify
the information most needed by expats as they adapt to international
living, we'd like to know the biggest hurdles you faced in the process
of moving overseas.

Please help us in this project by answering these few questions:

When you moved to Latvia, what was the most difficult part of settling
in there?

How much difficulty did you have with culture shock in Latvia?

What would be the best, single piece of advice you'd give to an expat
(or soon to be expat) in Latvia?

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Renagle
12/16/2009 15:34 EST

The hardest thing about Latvia is the language(s). Both Russian and Latvian are used and English can be difficult to find when speaking to people older than about 40. Shopping in a foreign language is always a challenge, but it can be overcome. The only ingredients that I can think of that Americans may miss would be some spices, but there is Mexican food and other ethnic items that can be found in the groceries such as Stockman or Skye, however Rimi and Maxima are catching up on the more obscure US things. I have not found it difficult to adjust other than it may be a bit slower pace of life if coming from London or NY or Chicago. Movie theaters show current films, many in English with Latvian/Russian subtitles, and even children's movies will come out for a period of time in English before being voice-overed. Mail service is good. You cannot drink the tap water here so buying all bottled water may be annoying, but you can cook with the water (pasta). There is a lot of calcium deposits left over so I recommend bottled water for tea/coffee pots. It's not that hard but be prepared for a cold, white winter!

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