Expat Magazine

Beyond Tourism: Showing Porto As An Expat

By Gail Aguiar @ImageLegacy

Porto from Jardim do Morro, Vila Nova de Gaia

I show Porto to visitors all year round, but May seems to be an especially favoured month for visiting, probably because of seat sale seasonality. Many of my North American friends have visited in May, and this year will be no exception. It’s a very good time to be in Portugal as the weather is milder and the tourism isn’t full-blown yet.

Today I picked up two visitors at the airport who’ll be staying more than a month, so my tour guiding skills will be put to the test. Because this isn’t just tourism, they want to live here.

laundry of Porto

This is when I give a very different sort of tour: I talk about municipal politics, house construction, utility prices, healthcare, public transit, and other details which doesn’t concern the average tourist who is only here for a few days. It’s also a discussion about adjusting to the local culture, about language acquisition, etiquette, building a social life, business networking, learning the customs and traditions, and living in that space between two (or three or more) cultures.

Cais de Gaia and the Douro River

I also think it’s vital to all involved that you feel connected to the community where you choose to live. Or, to put it another way, no matter how great the weather is or how much more favourable the cost of living is in Portugal, if you don’t like the people you won’t want to stick around. Of course, a feeling of connectedness won’t happen overnight — these things take time — and it will fluctuate regularly according to experiences, but my point is that Portugal is more than a pile of statistics, it’s a culture shared between nearly 11 million people.

Since I still haven’t finished writing that 3-year anniversary post, I leave you with my interview that was published on Expat Focus today. This interview is my perspective after more than three and a half years in Portugal. You can find more interviews on my Expat Life page.

Ribeira from Gaia

April 4, 2017
Album: Portugal [Spring 2017]


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