Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Research Before Moving to Italy

After ten years of living in the "bel paese", I think I can safely pass on some suggestions to those considering moving to Italy. The single most important advice is to do a lot of research before relocating to Italy.

You should have a job before moving or at least some strong job leads. Know which city or cities would best suit your needs and personality. Obviously if you want to work for a large corporation, you should not move to a small town in the middle of nowhere. You should spend some time in the city or town you want to move to before you actually move there. You may realize that that city is not what you had in mind or does not offer you what you were looking for. While in that town, talk to as many people as possible asking as many questions that come to mind about living there. Talk to both locals and foreigners living there.

A huge consideration of course is if you will be moving by yourself or with your family. What consequences are there for your companion and/or children? What are the schools like? Will your companion be able to find work if looking? What is the health care like? What are monthly expenses?

Nowadays through the internet you can get a plethora of information from people who have a lot of hands on experience, have been there. The forums are a great place for information. Three great forums are within www.italymag.co.uk, www.slowtrav.com and www.lifeinitaly.com. I wish I had access to these before I moved to Italy! You will find people more than willing to answer your questions.

What I would have done differently? Ten years ago I brought all my hardware (fax,computer, printer) and then spent the following year dealing with transformers, electrical outages, etc. Buy your hardware in Italy. Nowadays the costs are similar and the products too. Plus who uses faxes anymore??! I would have done more research talking to people who had already lived in Italy for years learning the upside and the downside. I was so excited about moving here. I did not want to hear anything negative about it. But it was a tough few years full of disappointments and a lot of loneliness too. I had had high expectations and when they did not pan out, was ready to pack and leave. So do your research and be realistic of how it will be utilizing all the information you have and gather. Let me know if you have any specific questions regarding your wanting to move!


Gina said...

Thanks for sharing your stories. I am planning on moving to Southern Italy within the next 3-5 years. I have a lot of research ahead of me and I need to learn Italian more fluently. With your experience and expat friends, is Rosetta Stone a good investment? I work in Law Enforcement here in the states and it is not really something I plan on doing when I move there. How did you move your belongings? what did you keep/get rid of?

Lucia said...

Hi Gina and thank you for your comment. First of all, good for you for doing your homework ahead of time and preparing for this important move. I personally did not use Rosetta Stone but I as many hear that it is actually a very good method. Every situation is different and when I moved to Italy I really had no intention of staying for so long as I have. I really brought very little with me and I mistakenly brought electronics as computer laptop and printer and even a fax machine. This was over 13 years ago. Today I would not bring any electronics at all. You can purchase everything here in Italy and it will be much less of a headache. I still have a home in the States so I did not bring furniture etc. I only brought clothing really. If I were you I would, if you haven't already, follow and join the numerous expat forums there are online. You will probably find people who live in the area you intend to go to. Good luck.