Interview with Stef Smulders

21 October, 2016

Name: Stef Smulders

Age: 46-60

From: Netherlands

Now residing in: Italy

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
8 years, I do not know how long I will stay, maybe always

Are you living alone or with your family?

Why did you move?
start a new life, different type of work (run a B&B)

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
quite easy in fact, we did learn the language before we moved here

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
reasonably easy, it takes time but gradually you get more and more friends

Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
no, it wasnt needed as we stayed within the EU

Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived
no, that wasn't a problem as Italy has a state health insurance system

How do you make your living in the country? Do you have any type of income generated?
We run a bed and breakfast Villa I Due Padroni, in the wine region oltrepo Pavese south of Milan

Do you speak the language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
Yes, it is essential

Please add your thoughts on local customs and whether it's important for expats to respect/observe local customs.
Yes you have to adjust otherwise you'll wind up very frustrated and dissapointed

Do you miss home and family sometimes?
Not really, family visits us each year

Do you have other plans for the future?
No, not yet

What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home?
We bought our house

What is the cost of living in your new country?
Daily living is more as less the same here. Eating out, theater and leisure acitivties tend to be cheaper here.

What do you think about the the local people?
Nice, friendly, a bit strange sometimes ;-)

What are the positive and negative aspects of living here?
Positive: surroundings, landscape, climate, space, quietness, people, gastronomy. Negative: cultural life is much more restricted, we need to do everything by car, public transport non-existent

Do you have any tips for our readers about moving to, or living in the country?
Learn the language, prepare yourself reading a good book about the rules and regulations, realise that when you come to live here it is not the same as vacation

What is the worst experience you have had as an expat?
Being ripped off by the plumber, electrician etc

Do you have any favorite websites or blogs about the country?
There is little about the region we live in, so we created our own infopage:

Tags: Italy |



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