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Feeling Like a Foreigner


Posts: 5
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Topic starter
(@deborahd)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago

I really like this quote: “People don’t know what it’s like being the foreigner until they are one.” from Amber Liuread

I'm curious about you. When have you felt like a foreigner? Do you feel excited about the adventure and novelty or does it make you anxious?

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Posts: 729
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(@mrbife)
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Joined: 16 years ago

From a personal perspective I have never been made to feel like a foreigner in Portugal.  I certainly felt inadequate a few times during my early years, mainly due to lack of language skills but that only prompted me to improve and integrate.

Last time I did feel like a foreigner was on a trip back to the UK (my birthplace) where I realised how narrow minded and selfish people there were becoming and just how useful a wider perspective of the world really was.

So, enjoy the adventure and grow with it

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VIP Member
(@deborahd)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 5

@mrbife it is quite interesting (and sometimes unsettling) when we go back "home" and it feels so strange... it's reverse culture shock and we seldom are aware or prepared for it 🙂

 

 

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Posts: 1256
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(@stevej)
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Joined: 14 years ago

I think there is a difference between "being made to feel like a foreigner" and realising that you are one.

For us, the early weeks/months after the move were a whirlwind of emotions: tiredness from the physical move; elation that we had finally made it; realisation that this was for ever, not just a holiday. So, finding our way through the forms, offices, bureaucracy, supermarkets etc. to get everything sorted certainly brought home to us that we were no longer in our own country, but that was more a logistical thing than down to any attitude we experienced. We certainly didn't feel we were unwelcome at all (well, apart from the receptionists at the Centro de Saúde - an ongoing irritation, unfortunately, which I am still not sure is due to language/foreigner issues, or just the administration ethos in this particular health centre).

And now, two years later, my only problem is that I realise I just do not have an ear for foreign languages. I can read/write and even (not so fluently "off the cuff") speak Portuguese but I just can not get to grips with the spoken word. However, even with this limitation, I am successfully communicating with builders and architect without getting any feelings of resentment that I am a foreigner.

So, yes you might come across some barriers as you make your new life, but these will largely be down to navigating systems rather than from any personal antipathy to foreigners.

Steve

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(@deborahd)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 5

@stevej It is quite a learning curve to be a foreigner. I think it also depends on the country and your nationality. In Portugal, in general, people seem very open and accommodating to foreigner's needs. How was your connection with the locals besides the logistics? Have you made Portuguese friends?

 

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