Jul 10, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Speak Portuguese? Want to become an engineer?

Live and work in one of the most interesting countries in the world: Portugal.

Its booming economy, phenomenal landscape, great lifestyle, and burgeoning aeronautics, aviation, and informatics sectors make Portugal the next bastion of engineering in Europe, if not the world.

Here are three great reasons to choose Portugal for your STEM studies

1. Portugal is booming

Unemployment is down to 7.4 percent, and Portugal has paid back its debt.

As it continues to recover, Portugal finds itself job-rich, with more flexible hiring and collective bargaining possibilities. According to a recent article in Bloomberg, “The turnaround is partly due to economic reforms required as part of its 2011 bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, and partly because of the ECB’s ultra-low interest rates and bond-buying.”

Housing prices in Portugal also rose over 12 percent, the fastest gains since the housing boom started in 2013.

It’s not just in Lisbon and Porto, either. According to Reuters, Ricardo Guimaraes, director of Confidencial Imobiliario said, “The price gains are spreading geographically,” adding that growing mortgage lending by banks has helped considerably.

2. Aeronautics is growing

At the end of May, The Portugal News Online reported that Portugal’s aeronautics sector will reach 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) within the next five years, according to the president of the National Association of Aeronautics, Space, and Defense (AED).

AED President, General José Cordeiro said, "The cluster has three main objectives: one of them is to double turnover, or, to increase from 1.2% to 3% of GDP within five years. I think it is an achievable goal, at this moment Europe is growing at 11% a year."

He added, “The cluster represents about 60 companies, making €1.87 billion, which corresponds to 1.2% of GDP, and employs 18,500 people, 87% of which is exports, the internal market is residual.

General Cordeiro stressed that the aeronautics industry will invest a lot in innovation over the next few years. He wants to show that Portugal is a big player in the aeronautics field in the world, not just in Europe, and not just in Portugal.

He said that there are about 120 aerospace engineers a year, and for Portugal to sustain its growth, the country will need to increase its capacity. There are currently shortages of about 2,000 jobs in the field.

Cordeiro said that while the sector is still “emerging” there’s great promise.

3. It’s a great place to live

Not only is there great promise in Portugal, it’s a great place to live, too.

The people are friendly and welcoming and helpful to expats with neighbors sharing wine and garden goodies.

It’s nice most of the year too, with warm temperatures between March and October. While July and August are super hot, the beaches are beautiful.

While there is a bit of a language barrier, if you’re open to learning Portuguese, most folks will welcome you. Many of Portugal’s school-age children also learn English and school, and they’re typically happy to talk with foreigners.

Cost of living is pretty affordable, too. Groceries, like food, wine, and bread and reasonably priced, and rents are reasonable. As in most places, cities are more expensive than the countryside, but if you do some research you’ll likely find something that works for you.

It’s also unquestionably European—if you’re looking for ease of travel, rich history, culture, food, and wine—in addition to a flourishing aeronautics industry, Portugal is a good bet.

Atlântica
Atlântica

4. Study at Atlântica

Ready to pack your bags and start your engineering career in Portugal?

Study at Atlântica. Since 1996, this institution has worked to serve the public interest by fulfilling the needs of the labor market, and training professionals with skills in aeronautics and related areas.

The university’s goal? To raise post-graduate professionals “capable of technical and professional leadership” in a constantly changing world.

Atlântica’s Masters in Aeronautic Maintenance Technology and Management offers students of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering the opportunity to specialize in aeronautics—and to connect them with the aeronautics network in Portugal.

Their Degree in Aeronautic Engineering offers a highly scientific curriculum catered to future technical and professional leaders in the field. The university created the degree to meet the country’s growing demand for experts in new materials and technologies in the field of aeronautics.

 

If you want to live, work, and study in one of the world’s aeronautics hotspots, move to Portugal, where you’ll not only soak up the sun and culture, but be on the cutting edge of an innovative field in a booming economy. Portugal’s Atlântica—it’s where you want to be.

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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