Portugal is the oldest nation in Europe. It became an independent country waaaaay back in 1143, when France, England and the other countries we know and love weren't even a twinkle in revolutionary's eye. Due to a great geographical position, the Portuguese enjoy great weather without any of the problems normally associated with tropical countries such as typhoons, hurricanes or big rains. Great weather and two coasts make Portugal a great destination both for sunbathing and surfing. Portugal is also a great starting point for travel, with cheap flights leaving Porto and heading all over. The great connections made from this piece of heaven make it easier for you to travel anywhere in Europe, either by train bus or low-cost airlines.

Moreover, Portugal has been considered one of the most liberal and open countries in all of Europe and is a hub for those who would like to see many ideas and cultures living in harmony and respect.

Porto

Porto was historically known as Portus Cale, thus giving the modern country of Portugal its name. Their wine and food make it famous, while the old architecture still amazes even the locals. Located in the north of the country, winters can go below 0 ºC while during the summer temperatures can actually go above 35 ºC.

Porto’s best school, Universidade do Porto, is composed of several colleges, such as the Faculty of Letters, Faculty of Arts or Faculty of Law. Degrees in medical areas are also available (though we would only recommend this for those who have a high level of Portuguese under their belt).

Porto is also home to one of the world's most spectacular bookstores, the Livraria Lello & Irmão. The breathtaking wooden staircase is said to be the inspiration for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter.

Coimbra

Coimbra, half way between Porto and Lisbon, is the cradle of all things academic> It was the birthplace of the first Portuguese university back in 1537. It's nickname, Cidade do Conhecimento (the city of knowledge) says it all. Student traditions are very strong here, with many zany festivals and superstitions that help you mingle, bond and make lifelong friends.

Coimbra University is one of the most international universities in the country. Many international students choose it because of its similarities to American universities. It has a much more centralized campus than either Porto or Lisbon.

Beware though, Coimbrenses party hard, drink hard and study harder. There are two main official parties during college time, the Latada, in the beginning of the school year that serves as a way for first years to demonstrate their eagerness and excitement to be entering the institution, and Queima das Fitas, which is where, after your friends and family write in ribbons their desires for you in the future, you burn them in a massive and common fire. This also comes with a mass and a prayer from the town’s priest to bless you for your future doings and adventures. After the prayers and burnings, the students go on a parade, some on top of floats designed by the student body that can depict anything from the state affairs of the country to just random designs and finish the night with concerts and cheap drinks.

University of Coimbra has also been awarded a UNESCO world heritage site, a list where only other two universities in the world are listed.

Lisbon

This capital city's locals are dubbed Alfacinhas (“Little Lettuces”), as the city was originally known for its lettuce fields and patches (you can still see them today in the old quarters!). Strategically located close to the Atlantic Ocean it was, and still is, a very important port to both European and Portuguese economy. With easy beach access by train or car and a great public transportation network, even its famous seven hills will not be a problem if you need to work on your tan.

Lisbon’s public university, Universidade de Lisboa, is similar in to the universities of Porto and Coimbra. Student traditions also have a hold here, and not uncommon to see random groups of students dressed in strange costumes.

Other universities in Lisbon include the Catholic University of Portugal, which is centrally located and very welcoming to international students.

Housing

Student housing is available but it is quite limited. Lisbon and Porto don’t have much of a dorm tradition while Coimbra is more like what you see in the US. Homestays are also available through many programs if you really want to be immersed in Portuguese daily life.

If you'd rather live on your own, however, you can find furnished student housing (either shared with other students or independently) through UniPlaces.

Academic Life

Portuguese love to socialize and that usually comes with either beer or wine in the mix. You will need to manage the fine line between your hard college lessons starting at 8am every day (sometimes even on Saturdays!) and the urge to enjoy the city all night long.

Though teachers are quite strict, they are mostly forgiving in the beginning of the year, but as the first semester comes to an end in December you are supposed to know your subject inside and out. Portuguese academic life is wild and extremely demanding of your body and mind, but you will get there. Everyone does!

Language

While Portuguese is the official language of most colleges, those with a higher numbers of international students often conduct courses in English.Your program choice will vary on based on how comfortable you are with the Portuguese language. For some subjects (such as medical, management of law) it is harder to find classes in English. Many study abroad programs also offer courses in Introductory to Advanced Portuguese.

Social Life and Student Culture

Any popular gatherings for students in Portugal must be accompanied by one of two things: sun or beer. Up in Porto and Coimbra, you will find your fellow classmates on the street or garden studying for exams with a drink in hand. In Lisbon, students very commonly resort to the beach as an excuse for a distraction-free study environment- though they usually pack too much sunscreen and playing cards and not enough books.

Student discounts are pretty common in Portugal. Students receive discounts on museums, cinemas, plays, transportation, fast food restaurants (like McDonalds) and their own college shop. Some also offer discounts in health clubs and/or doctors if you use the university facilities (for example, going to the Dental Faculty instead of any other doctor will get you a cheaper consultation, and don’t worry: you will always have a teacher overlooking your trainee).

Scholarships: Portugal

Does studying abroad sound fabulous but expensive? While it is true, studying abroad can mean added costs, there are still a variety of ways to offset the extra expenses. If you're not up for opening a lemonade stand, I suggest checking out the following scholarships.

Contributed by Joana Melo

Study Abroad Programs in Portugal

Displaying 1 - 15 of 17 programs
European Innovation Academy
Study abroad in Portugal with European Innovation Academy
Portugal
9.14 •7 reviews

European Innovation Academy (EIA) provides a unique hands-on program...

InnoEnergy Master's School
Master in Environmental Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems in Lisbon
Portugal
9.57 •7 reviews

Real-world energy challenges. Collaborative solutions. A sustainable...

Forum-Nexus Study Abroad
Nursing, Pre-Med, and STEM Traveling Summer Abroad in Europe
Multiple Countries
10 •3 reviews

Make your summer unforgettable! Travel throughout Europe with students...

InnoEnergy Master's School
Study Clean Fossil and Alternative Fuels Energy in Lisbon
Multiple Countries
10 •3 reviews

Reduce emissions. Develop alternative fuels. Build a sustainable...

Atlantis
Shadow Doctors 20+ Hours/Week Across Europe
Multiple Countries
9.76 •79 reviews

Shadowing experiences for adventurous pre-med students. Shadow 60+...

InnoEnergy Master's School
Multi-Country: Master in Renewable Energy in Europe
Multiple Countries
9.5 •4 reviews

Design, develop and deliver the next generation of renewable energy...

InnoEnergy Master's School
Master in Energy Technologies in Sweden, France, or Portugal
Multiple Countries
9.5 •2 reviews

Energy technologies. Inspirational partners. Your own sustainable...

iXperience
iXperience Lisbon – Learn + Intern Abroad
Portugal
9.44 •9 reviews

iXperience Lisbon is an intense 6-week, 6-credit* program for...

Seamester
Seamester: Virgin Islands to the Mediterranean - 40 Days
Multiple Countries
9.67 •6 reviews

Crewing a yacht on a transatlantic voyage is not something many can...

CIEE
CIEE Language + Culture in Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal
9.67 •6 reviews

The western tip of Europe is steeped in ancient history, creating a...

Atlantis
Shadow Doctors 20+ Hours/Week in Portugal
Portugal
10 •3 reviews

Shadowing experiences for adventurous pre-med students. Shadow 60+...

Eurolingua Institute
One-to-One Portuguese Language Homestay Immersion in Portugal
Portugal

Eurolingua One-to-One Portuguese Language Homestay Immersion programs...

Institute for Field Research
IFR: Portugal- Vale Boi Field School
Portugal

Our exciting program from Portugal is the Vale Boi field school...

API
API Study Abroad in Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal

Experience life abroad in a truly cosmopolitan destination! Lisbon's...

Edumadic
Learn Online while Traveling Europe
Multiple Countries

Edumadic organises and leads programs around the world for carefully...

What People Are Saying

I did a 3-week long fellowship in Lisboa, Portugal Summer 2018, and left with an idea of what I finally want to do in medicine. This was a huge leap of faith considering this was my very first time on...

Some of my fellows and I at Castelo dos Mouros

I did a month long fellowship in Coimbra, Portugal this summer and walked away with so many positive memories. I had the chance to see open heart surgery, cataract surgery and many other different...

A picture from our excursion to Porto, Portugal.

Atlantis is hands down one of the best things I have ever done. I loved the places I visited, the doctors I shadowed, the medical and cultural knowledge I gained, the life-long friendships I developed...

Barbastro

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