5 Tips when studying in Portugal

When moving to Portugal for studies, there are a number of questions you might have. This post is a short guide that will give you a number of tips to ensure you have a great time when studying in Portugal.

Porto houses a few of the main universities in Portugal. It is a very student-friendly city with lots of exchange-students. Image by Rititaneves CC-BY3.0

Get a student transport pass

In most cities in Portugal, the company in charge of transport offer different travel passes. These are renewed monthly. In Lisbon for example, the pass only costs you 25€ and you are able to travel as much as you want all the way from Cascais to Setúbal. Given that one round-trip to Caparica will cost you 8€, a travel pass is definitely worth it. With this pass, you can take the bus, metro, and regional train. To apply for such a pass you need to fill in an application form and attach a passport picture of yourself. These forms can be given to you at the different stations where they have a help desk.

Lisbon has a "travel-all-you-want" month-pass for 20€ for students

Join a gym or try a new sport

Although you will probably be busy with the pub-crawls, parties, and tourist attractions, joining a gym in Portugal when studying can be very interesting. First of all, there are a number of chains that offer monthly passes that are very cheap. Some even offer the possibility to pause the membership if you need to fly back home for two weeks for Christmas for example. Secondly, the gyms have a lot of classes in groups and this is a great way to meet people and make friends. Should the gym not be your thing there are plenty of other activities and sports to do. I tried yoga for example during my exchange and met plenty of nice people. This is also a great way to stay in shape while you are eating Pasteis de Nata and drinking beer during your stay!

Many students take up surfing when studying in Portugal. Image from Carcavelos beach by Sonse CC-BY2.0

Get involved in one of the guilds at your school

If you are studying at a university in Portugal, there are a number of guilds that you can be part of. These guilds are run by the students from a school and they would organize parties and other events. Participating in a guild allows you to get spots in the different events but it is also a great way to immerse yourself in the Portuguese culture. Portuguese students have all kinds of crazy traditions and some are really fun to be part of. I believe that when studying abroad, in order to make the most out of your exchange, you should try and assimilate the culture and experience Portuguese life. As the expression goes “When in Rome, live like a Roman!”

Make sure to take part in the Queimas das Fitas

If you are studying in Portugal during the Spring then make sure to be there during the Queimas das Fitas. The Portuguese call this event the “Burning of Ribbons” and comes from the city of Coimbra. Each city and universities have its own celebration but it usually consists of processions throughout the city and a lot of partying. The one from Coimbra is the most famous one; however, you have similar celebrations in Porto, Lisbon, and more. Another name for this celebration which you might hear is “Semana Académica” and they can also be held during the fall.

Queimas das Fitas takes place once or twice a year. Students would parade thru the city with their classmates and party for days. Image by wuppertaler CC-BY4.0

To sum-up

Whether you choose to move to Lisbon for the good schools, beautiful nature, or the surf you should make the most of it! Explore new hobbies, visit the different parts of the country, and most importantly try Portuguese life!

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