6 Reasons to Study In Portugal

May 25, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Olá! Welcome to Portugal—temperate climate, delicious cuisine, fine wines, stunning scenery and yes—excellent universities.  Home to just over 10.3 million people on the Iberian Peninsula, this small nation boasts nearly instant access to beaches, cities, and everything in between. 

Situated in southern Europe on the Atlantic Ocean, bordering Spain, Portugal’s culture stems from the ocean.  With salt cod and grilled sardines as national dishes, the country boasts a rich culture.  While many tourists flock to Algarve’s beaches, there are several smaller student-friendly towns—inland and coastal.  Its architecture?  Stunning.  Most of it dates to the 15th and 16th centuries when Portugal was at the height of its maritime empire. 

Let’s take a look at 6 reasons you should study in Portugal.

 

1. Cost of Living

Compared to the rest of Western Europe, Portugal is affordable.  For under $1000, you can manage fairly well in smaller student cities.  Tuition and fees are also reasonably priced, especially for English-taught degrees.  Room sharing is also common practice at many universities, so it’s possible to make your study abroad experience in Portugal even more affordable.  Another nice feature?  Student rates.  Students can save up to 50 percent off the costs of museums and historic sites with student IDs.  Restaurant life?  More than manageable.

 

2. Coastline

With over 700 miles of coastline, Portugal is a dream for those who love the ocean—and it’s never too far away.  Dramatic beaches.  Fairytale cliffs.  Untouched Atlantic landscapes.  It’s worth a visit to see just its sheer beauty.  Into watersports?  Try scuba diving, surging, body boarding and yachting.  Not into water sports?  Channel some inner peace and watch the waves. 

 

3. Education

Portugal offers world-class education.  Of note in world rankings?  The University of Lisbon has a range of studies and locations for any student’s needs.  The Universidade Nova de Lisboa has a focus on the humanities and social sciences.  At the University of Minho, you can opt for any number of specialty areas including education, economics, arts and sciences, architecture, and engineering,

 

4. Portuguese

Learn it!  Not only is it beautiful, its similarities to Spanish and Italian will give you the ability to at least understand the other two languages.  Most bachelor’s degrees are taught in Portuguese—but most master’s programs are in English.  Either way, learning Portuguese can only benefit you.  Think of it as a gateway to northern Africa and South America.  Learning the language will also help you adjust not just to studying in a new place, but to learning new the new culture and customs.  Listen.  Before long, you’ll roll that “r” with the best of them.

 

5. Weather

It’s perfect.  Its Mediterranean climate provides long, hot summers and short, rainy winters.  Think of it as spring and summer with a need for a raincoat and a sweater sometimes.  If you want to feel like you’re studying in a temperate Shangri-La, then consider Portugal. 

 

6. Food

Among some of the best in Europe and the world—and most off-the-beaten path—the food in Portugal is exquisite.  Most dishes center around meat, fish, or eggs—and you can expect some heavy meals.  Don’t worry though, “Portuguese tapas” are becoming very popular, so you’ll have a chance to try a variety of food without stuffing yourself. 

Put Portugal on your list of places to study abroad if you want a great education, the opportunity to learn a language rich in history and culture, the chance to visit a beautiful place, great friends, great food, and a reasonable cost of living.

Convinced?  You should be.

Até já!

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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