Category Archives: Expat Life

Why trying to enter Italy illegally could cost you your life

Men on lifeboat with sinking ship in background

The recent shipwreck that occurred not far away from the Italian coast, involving an African boat with more than three hundred souls onboard, most of which drowned, triggered once again a heated debate on the Italian law regulating this matter.

Put simply, the bill on immigration approved on 2002 forbids the act of bringing people who don’t have a visa for Italy onto Italian territory in any case.

That means, if you are fishing and spot a boat filled with starving people which is going to sink under their weight, decide to save them, bring them to the nearest hospital, and that hospital is incidentally on Italian territory, then you’ve just committed a crime.
Not to mention the seizure of the boat, which is ordered even in the case of bringing dead bodies ashore.

Hypothetical? Not really.

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Loose firearms laws and gun circulation in the world: it’s not only the US

An aspect of expat life I never really thought about before switching countries is firearms control.

One reason for that is the fact that I was moving to a country which has never been at war in the last two-hundred years, plus it is well-known for its neutrality, it almost never experienced political unrest, and has a low crime rate.

However, I soon learnt that those factors don’t necessarily mean strict gun control.

This is what I saw when I boarded a tram downtown on a Saturday morning.

Just an ordinary Saturday morning

Just an ordinary Saturday morning

Friends of mine confirmed that it’s nothing unusual. However, I was shocked.

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An example of direct democracy

I live in a country which features one of the most direct democracies in the world. I don’t know about you, but for me democracy is important, being it closely related to freedom, and the less it is delegated, the better.

"Switzerland chooses"

“Switzerland chooses”

As soon as I moved to Switzerland I was surprised to see long aluminum poles planted on grassy grounds arranged so that their bases formed a rectangle.
“It’s for a new building,” I was told, “to give neighbors time to decide whether they like it to be built there or not.”
That’s right, the poles represented cornerstones and height of a soon-to-be-built building, according to design plan. The neighbors had veto power on it.

However, in Switzerland ordinary people are much more involved in decisions than just vetoing buildings.

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Driving in Switzerland: don’t deal with Swiss Police, they will deal with you

Adapting to drive in another country is not always easy.

One has to adapt to:

  • Different rules
  • Different signaling system
  • Different driving styles of the other drivers
  • Different police

Swiss Police

Different police

Imagine you are driving in northern Switzerland, where people pretend to speak German.

It’s after midnight, and I’m driving well below the speed limit, since I know there are many radars around.

Suddenly a car overtakes me, and – surprise – it is a police car.

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Culture shock experiences from expats

What is Culture Shock? How does it develop over time? Here you can find an introduction to culture shock and accounts from expats about their experience with it.

Cultural shock

If you have ever felt in the wrong place after moving to a new city, or went through a stage of continuously criticizing people around you after expatriating, or felt irritable after relocating, you’ve probably suffered from culture shock.

Symptoms

You may not even have known you were suffering from culture shock.
Did you experienced some to several of the following symptoms sometime after relocating abroad or to another part of your own country?

  • Homesickness
  • Night unrest
  • Disliking locals
  • Tendency to criticize local customs
  • Judging local customs as (partly) immoral
  • Considering native culture as ideal
  • Appearance of new physical ailments
  • Being highly irritable by small issues
  • Feeling alone
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Depression
  • Voluntary isolation from others

These are typical symptoms of culture shock

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