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Settling into Portuguese life

Once the hard work of organising the move and shipping everyone over to Portugal has been completed, the enjoyment can really begin. Migrants will typically feel like they need a holiday after all the effort, but the old adage that "a change is as good as a rest" proves truer than ever, with recent movers typically launching themselves head-first into Portuguese life.

So what can those who've made the move expect within their first month as bona-fide British expats?

Language

The first hurdle to overcome is, of course, the language. As organising such a move is a lengthy process, many migrants find themselves with the time to at least learn a few key words and phrases before making the move so that it isn't an entire step into the unknown. For all the dictionaries, phrase books and computer programs, however, nothing is as quick or as effective as actually living in the environment where a language is spoken all the time.

For this reason, it's worth learning the basics for the sake of safety and security, but there's also no need to worry about not being fluent on the flight out. That will come with time.

Culture

Portugal offers much in the way of culture and entertainment, whether it's the breathtaking scenery, flourishing music scene or world-renowned football pedigree.

Starting with sport, football takes an almost religious status in Portugal, with the likes of Eusebio, Luis Figo, Christiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas all hailing from the country. Regionally, FC Porto, Sporting CP and SL Benfica are rightly known as 'os tres grandes' (the big three) on account of their success.

Music, meanwhile, is popular and growing in Portugal, with recent years seeing the country's Optimus Alive festival gaining global appeal. Attracting the likes of The Cure, Radiohead, Coldplay and Foo Fighters in recent years, as well as home-grown talent in the shape of Moonspell, Buraka Som Sistema and Blasted Mechanism.

For something a little more sedate there's always Portugal's much-vaunted scenery. In occupying a relatively long, thin stretch of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal has plenty of coastline - 850km in fact - open to be explored. This is a popular option, however, so attracts a great many Portuguese locals and tourists. Thus, trips along the northerly mountains may be a better option for those seeking a more remote jaunt.

Cuisine

As with most coastal nations, the Portuguese consume a lot of fish, with sardines and fish stew being a favourite. The influences from neighbour Spain have also propagated through the likes of pork, chicken and rice in wide usage.

By far the most famous of Portugal's culinary exports is port. The fortified wine, which has been consumed across the world since the days of the Romans, remains as popular now as it ever has been.

So the move might be draining and make recent expats feel like they need a holiday, but with this on offer in their new home, it's easy to see why the feeling fades quickly enough.

Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

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