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Italy > Expat Experiences


Andrew Smith, Turin

Published Wednesday November 30, 2011 (00:36:55)
Main shopping street in Turin
Main shopping street in Turin

My name is Andrew Smith. I moved to Turin Italy in 1998 together with my wife Maria. Maria is of Italian origin and wanted to return to Italy and I was enough to be transferred by the company I worked for at the time to their Turin office.

What challenges did you face during the move?

It was a bit of a culture shock at first, working in Italy was nothing like being on holiday in Italy. The first six months were mostly a real struggle to settle in and there were many days when I thought about throwing in the towel. I am glad I didn't though but to be honest it probably took me two years before I began to really feel at home.

Language was one of the biggest hurdles, initially my Italian was very basic. Having to work and deal with people only in Italian was a nightmare at first. Looking back though it was the best thing that could have happened as I improved my Italian very quickly indeed

How did you find somewhere to live?

The company I worked for at the time took care of that.

Are there many other expats in your area?

In the beginning there were very few at all but that has really changed over the last five years and there are now a number.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

Very good, in fact I have virtually nothing to do with any expat community in Italy and nearly all my friends are Italian. I have found the most genuine and loving people in Turin and my closest friends are now those from Turin.

What do you like about life where you are?

Turin is a beautiful city, one of Italy's most elegant. The setting too is fabulous with many parks, rivers and hills within the city itself and the snow-capped Alpine peaks all around. Having the Italian Riviera and the Alps only a hour away is a huge bonus. Let me not forget the food, the best in all of Italy and, I think, the entire world.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Undertaking any type of business in Italy is always very complicated and normally costly too. The Italians tend to complicate life far more than necessary. The health system is very laborious too with long waiting lists for many things. Winter's in the north of Italy are too cold.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Try to spend as much time in Italy before you move and you really should try to have at least the basics in Italian already. If you have this it is very easy to build on it and learn to speak Italian correctly. Make sure too that you have a job before you arrive in Italy or enough money to support yourself for at least a year. Work is not easy to find.

What are your plans for the future?

I no longer work for a company but share my love of Italy through my websites.

I would like to continue sharing my passion for Italy through the sites. I am spending more time in the Veneto now which is the region my wife is from and I hope to eventually spend six months of the year in Veneto.

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