5 tips that will help while living in Portugal as an American
Living abroad has its perks. For one thing, you get to live in a country that is completely foreign to you. That means you get to learn about another culture and explore a place that may not be familiar to you.
For example, I lived in Spain for two years. I had no idea what was going on there until I moved there. And once I learned Spanish, I realized that I didn't know much about my own country either.
I'm sure you've heard stories about ex-pats who complain about everything. They say that life overseas sucks because they don't understand the language or the customs.
Well, I'm here to tell you that those stories aren't true. Sure, it's challenging sometimes, but most ex-pats find that living abroad opens their eyes to a whole new world.
I liked my experience in Spain, then I decided to continue living in Europe, and found in the neighboring country, Portugal, both an opportunity for investments as well as a place I can now call HOME. The investment opportunity opened the doors of the Portugal Golden Visa program, so I've got a residence permit that allows me to travel around Europe hassle-free!
But it also served as a quick path to an investment I was willing to make in Europe for quite some time. Buying a property for a third of the price I would pay in some areas of the US.
Now, as one of the many Americans living in Portugal, I think there are some tips that I can provide that might help you.
Here are the five tips that will help you while living in Portugal:
Learn How To Speak Their Language (the basics at least)
It sounds obvious, but learning how to speak the native tongue is essential. If you don't speak the language, it might be more difficult on a day-to-day basis.
While the best way it's still to get to speak with the locals, and from there improve your new language skills every day, nowadays, learning the basics of a new language like Portuguese is easier than ever.
There are plenty of resources available online to teach you the basics, which will definitely help you when meeting with locals.
Some of these online tools or apps include Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Memrise, and FluentU.
These apps are designed to help you master the language quickly. But remember, you still need to practice speaking the language every single day.
Get Involved With Other Americans Abroad
When you first arrive in a foreign land, you probably feel alone. There are tons of ex-pats living abroad, but chances are you won't see anyone else who speaks English.
That's okay though. You don't have to be lonely. Instead, join a group of ex-pats who share similar interests. This way, you'll be able to connect with others who are interested in the same topics as you.
Some groups include ex-pat forums, Facebook pages, Meetups, and blogs. These sites are perfect places to ask questions and get advice from fellow ex-pats, especially when you are still settling in.
Find An Expat Community Nearby
Most countries offer expatriate communities. These communities usually consist of ex-pats who live nearby.
They often organize events such as parties, happy hours, and dinners. These events are great opportunities to socialize with other ex-pats.
In addition, these communities provide support systems for ex-pats. For instance, if you have any legal issues, you can contact lawyers who specialize in international law that are within the community. Also, they can assist you with finding housing, jobs, and schools for your children.
Join Local Clubs
A common misconception among ex-pats is that they have to leave their old lives behind when they move abroad.
However, joining clubs and organizations is a great way to maintain friendships and connections back home.
Many ex-pats enjoy participating in sports leagues, volunteering, and taking classes. These activities give you something to do after work and on weekends.
Stay Connected With Friends Back Home
Moving abroad isn't easy. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to adjust to a new environment.
But, if you want to truly embrace your new life, then you should try to maintain relationships with friends and family back home. And also, make it clear that the doors of your new host country will always be open to close family and friends. This doesn't mean that you have to visit your hometown every weekend. Instead, you could call your friends and talk to them regularly.
Remember, you're not abandoning your friends and family. Instead, you're expanding your horizons. By staying connected with people back home, you'll be able to experience the full benefits of living abroad.