Tag Archives: Portugal

Life in Porto & Portugal

Want to do your exchange in an affordable, warm and idyllic location? Porto, Portugal might be the right choice for you! Even though the winter months might be quite rainy and a bit chilly, there is plenty of sunshine and warm weather well until November.  Budget won’t be an issue either as a nice lunch will cost you only 5 euros in the center and 3€ if you use the services of ISCAP, the university.

I was surprised about the level of English, it is rather good in Portugal and the classes at ISCAP were actually held in English. The classes were quite similar to the ones in TAMK: there’s group work, some lectures and tests. There were two major differences: some classes were held even in the evening and students could choose between final or continuous assessment. In final assessment participation was not mandatory and there would be one final exam in January per course. Continuous assessment meant that 75% of the classes should be attended and there would be lighter tasks such as a group project and mini tests delivered throughout the course until Christmas. Like most, I chose the latter option.

I lived in a shared apartment with 11 other exchange students. I think for exchange, it is a good option as it forces you to make friendships, learn about different cultures and get involved more easily to free time activities.

Going with flatmates to Miramar, a beautiful beach nearby Porto.

Portugal is a more collectivist country compared to an Individualistic one of Finland. Yes, TAMK and Tampere has plenty of student activities to offer but I felt in Portugal people see them more as “we” rather than “I”. A great way to get involved in the local culture is by joining a sports group in the university. It was a nice experience to be part of the university team. In addition to practices and games, the collectivism can be noticed by for example pre-game lunches where all teammates are expected to participate before the battle.

 ISCAP’s futsal team

If you really want to learn Portuguese, you should get involved in activities with the locals. As my studies were in English, I really needed to have some other places where I could maintain my Portuguese skills I’ve acquired from my high school exchange to Brazil. Not only did I play games with the ISCAP team but I also was welcome to be a part of a private futsal club, Sporting Clube de Silvalde. There I had to deal with the European Portuguese, learn new types of practices and some habits from the locals. It was a nice custom entering the locker room as teammates greeted every single person by handshakes. This is once again a difference between the Portuguese and Finns. Nothing wrong with the Finnish ways but it was nice to experience a more open and collectivist culture also.

 Sporting Clube de Silvalde, futsal team.

In conclusion, exchange is mainly what you make of it. There are many possibilities to join student activities, make friendships with locals and even focus on studies if that is what you want. I had a nice experience on exchange, I hope you as well reading this blog post.

Petri

 

My Porto

I chose to apply for exchange in Portugal mainly for two reasons. First, I wanted to do the exchange together with my boyfriend and we needed to find a destination where they accepted more than one student from TAMK. Second, we wanted to live in somewhere a bit warmer and relaxed than Finland and escape from the grey and dark autumn months of Finland. So, when we found out about the city of Porto in Portugal we were sold.

Studies at ISCAP the accounting and business school of Politecnico do Porto

My exchange experience at ISCAP didn’t begin quite as well as I had hoped for. Already on the first orientation day we were told that the exchange would be one and a half months shorter than we were told before arriving. This was a disappointment for many and also messed up a many exchange students Erasmus grants. Later, during the orientation week we were informed that some of the ECT’s of the courses were actually lower than what had been written on ISCAP’s websites. So again, many of us exchange students were in trouble, because suddenly we didn’t have enough credits. But as the exchange went on I came to learn that this was very normal in Portugal. Anything was never clear and straight forward and as the Portuguese say you should just relax and take it easy.

Otherwise studies at ISCAP were ok and I would say that the level of teaching and tasks were pretty much the same as in TAMK. However, what did disappoint me was that most of the courses I had were like basic level courses even though the when I was making the course decisions the descriptions had suggested the courses were more advanced.

At ISCAP students have the possibility to choose either continuous assessment method or final assessment method for the courses. In continuous assessment students have obligatory participation on the lectures and essays and group works that they have to do during the course. In final assessment students don’t have to participate on the lectures at all and they only have one big final exam at the end of the period.  I had courses with both methods and this way only had to go two times a week to the campus.

Free time at Porto and Portugal

I started my Portugal experience with a road trip together with my boyfriend. We flew to the southern end of Portugal to Faro and rented a car from there. We spent two weeks driving along the coast up to Porto. In my opinion there couldn’t have been any better way to start the exchange.

During the exchange we also made quite many trips both in Portugal and abroad. Quite early on we made another road trip with a group of friends to the north of Spain to Vigo. A bit later we went on a one-day-trip with a company called Student Travels to see the Douro valley and its vineyards. In November we flew to Malta (with super cheap flights) and spent four days there. Just before Christmas we visited the town of Guimaraes which is said to be the birth place of Portugal. And the last four days in Portugal we spent in Madeira (highly recommended).

In Porto there is also a lot to do as long as you love partying. If you don’t (as I don’t), then you might feel a bit left out from the exchange groups and it might be hard to find other activities. Luckily there are a lot of great restaurants in Porto offering food form all over the world. Downside to this is that most of my money went to the restaurants even though they are a lot cheaper than in Finland.

Summary

When choosing Portugal as your exchange destination be aware that things don’t usually go as planned and that the culture is actually very different from Finland. For me since I guess I am a bit of control freak living in Portugal was very hard from time to time. However, travelling around Portugal and the destinations near it is amazing.

Olá do Porto!

Porto is a “capital of northern Portugal”, sized about the same as Helsinki metropolitan area, it is not too large nor small! I arrived a while ago for my International Business exchange and oh boy things are different in here! I’ve always been keen to know foreign cultures, and this time I wanted really to know southern Europe, hence the location: Portugal.

Let’s start with the Uni. All institution have their flaws, and before leaving TAMK I thought that things in Finland were far away from perfect, now I think that TAMK is a perfect school! 😀 Communication with the school has been more than troubling, the first day of school they cut credits from courses and shortened the exchange time! What a pleasant surprise. The facilities are, well, let’s just say that from the last century without renovation so you get the idea. But as in yin-yang, there is always something positive in bad, and it is not all bad! The teaching is good, in my Business English course and the Marketing Communication especially have been pleasant surprises all-in-all, and the tests have been way easier than in Finland so far, can’t complain about that!

Finding an apartment hasn’t been a problem for any friends that I have made, just prepare to pay around the same as in Finland and you are good to go! This brings the blog nicely to the prices, it is cheap here. With the grant provided, you will survive just fine. I had my expectations a bit higher just in case but the reality is that everything is cheaper. I cannot recommend enough to come to Portugal if you wish to travel during the exchange, Marocco, Malta and Madeira are all just 20 euros away, and by plane! I have already been to Spain and have trips booked to Malta and Madeira for the near future, and that is something!

To make it short, it is nice to experience a new culture in day-to-day life but I can now say that the culture in Finland is unbeatable. Here people are always late and almost nothing works at a general level, thank goodness people are super friendly! After the exchange, and already, I appreciate Finland more than ever!

Now I am just going to sit back, relax and try my best to adapt to the culture for rest of the time in here!

Atte Hurme

Porto – I am back!

This is my second time in the most beautiful city in Portugal, Porto. I was doing a study exchange last year for one semester and I felt like coming back – so here I am! I am studying and doing my internship and thesis here. This time it is different – I am doing my internship and not just studying.

The internship company is different compared to the average company in Finland. I am working as a lean engineer in a quite small manufacturing company. In Finland there isn’t many small manufacturing companies anymore because it is too expensive, the automation is on and the bigger companies have taken over. It is really interesting to see how it is done here and how a small company can still run independently.
The working culture is different, people are working really hard in Portugal and the manual working phases are still there, and by that I mean a lot of paper, for example. Working days are longer and vacations are shorter.

I haven’t had too much spare time since I am studying, doing my internship and also working from here for a Finnish company too. The spare time I have, I love to spend in the garden enjoying the sun and going to the beach, having long walks in the city and meeting friends. It is an amazing country and I am really grateful being able to be here and I have learned a lot.

Olá! Greetings from Portugal!

Hello Finland!

I study to be a nurse and I wanted to do my intership in other country. So here I am, in Portugal, city called Coimbra. Sebtember and specially October have been so warm; over 30 degrees most of the days.  No complaints…

 

Work place

I work at a university hospital at the infectious department. In the ward, there is lots of different kind of patients; HIV, pneumonia, cancer, drug users etc. I have done so many different things, for example taking blood examples, treated the wounds, diluted antibiotics and I have given intravenous medication to patiens. 

 

Free time

Coimbra is pretty small city here in Portugal but still there is something to see. The university is very famous and popular. The school was built in 1290. It’s oldest school in Portugal.

Also Santa Clara bridge is beautiful. Rio Mondego- river flows through Coimbra under the Santa Clara bridge. From there you can see all those colorful buildings and beautiful landscape. 

I have travelled few times in here Portugal. I have been in Figuera da Foz and Porto. One of my classmates from Finland came here and she is living in Porto. Figuera da Foz in near to the beach. Coimbra is inland so it is nice to visit the seafront sometimes. I am planning to go to Aveiro and Lissabon soon also. 

We also booked a trip to Paeva Walkways- event. There we went to this amazing park. Paiva Walkways are located on the left bank of the Paiva River, in Arouca municipality, Aveiro. There is route what is 8 km long and that provide a walk “untouched”, surrounded by unique beauty of landscapes, in an authentic natural sanctuary along the brave waters downhills.

 

What is different

I think the ward in the hospital itself is pretty similar than in Finland. In our ward, there is 29 beds for patiens. In morning shift works five nurses, three nurse assistant and several doctors. Nurse assistans differs from our practial nurses. Nurse assistants just help nurses if they need help. They are not allowed to do anything by themselves. You don’t need any kind of education to be an assistant; you learn when you work. Here nurses do lots of things. Some wards in Finland, nurses don’t take blood samples anymore. And nurses and doctors works together. Here they doesn’t.

The hierarchy is strongly exposed. Doctors are almost like God and students are lowest ranked. Even though they said that in Finland we are quiet and shy people, still we are friendly and openminded. Here not so many are interested from students or wants to know who we are etc. They don’t speak english, even if they can. 

In general, I think here people are nice and friendly and helpful. If you ask something, at least they try to help you (sometimes they just tell anything, just to get rid of you 😀 ). And ofcourse here they are “slow” as in the West European countries. Nurses comes to work like 10mins late every day, and that’s okay. If you ask something important, they answer you “don’t worry about it”.

But still, I like Portugal. Maybe we can learn to be little more flexible and relaxed… 😉

Love,

Jonna

Saudações de Porto!

Porto is a very old beautiful city in the northern Portugal. It’s the second largest city of the country right after Lisbon.  Porto is known for it’s gorgeous bridges along with the medieval riverside district (Ribeira) with it’s narrow cobblestone streets. It is also famous for it’s Port wine production.

Porto

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/destinos/porto-e-norte

I spent my time trying to experience everything Portugal had to offer. I did trips to different cities around the country, went watching champions league games, tried experiencing different foods and drinks, but the most memorable trip was the trip we took to Azores islands. They are volcanic islands in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. They have very beautiful waterfalls where you can take trips to do canoying. They also have hot springs for relaxing and even volcanic hot beaches in the ocean!

Universities are quite different from what I’m used to in Finland. The teaching is “old school”, as in you have to respect and call your professors by their title. What I found extremely interesting was how the university students in Portugal dressed in these “Harry Potter” like school uniforms. It is known that the author of Harry Potter got the idea from these exact uniforms! The freshmen of universities go through embarrassing looking rituals every day during their first year. Also they have to wear the same white t-shirt and a paper “crown” every day for the whole semester without washing them even once. I talked with the freshmen about it and they all did it with pride because it was their traditions and I really respected that.

교복입는 대학교.jpg | 인스티즈

http://www.instiz.net/pt/4067175

Boa tarde from the sunny Lisbon!

I’m studying in Universidade Europeia, one of the few private universities in Lisbon. Studying here is a bit different from what I’m used to in TAMK. Here I have school a few hours every day with different subjects and professors, whereas in TAMK we have one or two subjects per period. I have classes in Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality.

In TAMK we also do more practical work, when the lessons here feel like the lessons I had in the high school, with teacher doing most of the speaking and trying to explain things. All my courses are in English and most people here speak English very well.

img_2749Portuguese people are really friendly and laidback, but also a bit impatient. You can see that every day if you’re walking in a city, when people cross the street whenever they can or when the drivers use the car horns much more than is needed.

The Erasmus activity in Lisbon is really good. There are at least three Erasmus organizations who all arrange parties, BBQ’s and trips to all over Portugal, and to Spain and Morocco too! I have been on these trips to Sintra, Braga, Guimarães, Gerês, Nazaré, Berlengas, Obidós and Torres Vedras (Carnival!).I wish we had so many trips for the Erasmus students in Tampere too.

By myself, I visited the Azores, which belong to Portugal. I still haven’t gone to Madeira, although my Madeiran roommates tell me it’s heaven on earth.

My most favourite thing here is to drink coffee or wine in a miradouro, a viewpoint where you have really nice views over the red roofs. There are many in Lisbon. The city really has a rough style of beauty, with lots of graffitis, street art, old houses and narrow tiled streets.img_2412 img_0922 img_2443

As the summer is here, the temperature can rise up and over +30C, which is insane to a white Finnish person like me. Luckily there are beaches, terraces and all kind of activity you can do outside. Also, many flowers and trees are blooming! Even the night is warm to me.img_2814 img_2781 img_2762

One memorable thing for me will be a volunteer trip my school arranged to Setúbal, which is south from Lisbon. We were in a beach, collecting the plastic waste from the beaches. I really love the ocean and the plastic pollution has always stressed me out, so it was nice to help, even a bit. Afterwards we could enjoy the beaches.img_2639 img_2656 img_2675

Lisbon and Portugal will surely have a place in my heart. As my friend said, Lisbon is a state of mind.

Com amor,

Noora

Greetings from Porto

I have been studying in Porto for almost three months and I have at least two months ahead of me and I can’t wait to get more and more experiences from Portugal. Why do I love Porto? It has a lot of universities and a huge group of Erasmus students are coming here every semester. Local people are friendly, living is cheap and the public transportation (metro) is awesome! The coastline is beautiful and the weather.. well, it’s mostly amazing!

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I am studying mechanical engineering at ISEP. My courses are from the Master Degree of Industrial Management / Process Engineering. I have been struggling sometimes with the classes but I still feel optimistic and I’m always up for new challenges. Our class size is fairly small – we have more or less ten students attending the classes and all of my teachers remembers my name and they are really interested to know more about Finland. I am studying mostly with Portuguese people, which has been really cool!IMG_20170310_181520

I am living with 8 people around the world from Italy, Mexico, Angola, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Brazil and I love it! I am spending my spare time like any other Erasmus student (should) – meeting friends and new people, joining the ESN Events (parties) and travelling. I have been travelling around Portugal (Lisbon, Albufeira, Braga, Guimaraes, Esposende) and in Morocco. I am planning to keep on collecting experiences!

Below are some pictures from  Braga, Morocco and Albufeira.

BragaIMG_20170412_182429 Albufeira

 

 

 

 

 

In Portugal, dinner time is the most important time of the day. I have learned to eat a lot in the evening with friends and I am familiar with referring to meeting times such as “before the dinner” and “after the dinner”. Dinner is a social event with awesome food – every night!

It is okay to be late in Portugal and sometimes you need to wait a long time to see your local friends – obviously as a Finnish person I am arriving too early. I have learned to love the Portuguese lifestyle. People are laid back and they are not always in a rush and they don’t mind being late. I have learned how to live more stress-less life here in Portugal – sometimes you can be late and for the most times it is okay. I warmly recommend you to visit Porto and figure that out yourself…

Porto has been chosen to be the Best European Destination 2017 – and I do agree!

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Bom Dia from Porto!

I have spent three months now here in Porto. The place has shown to be even better than I expected. Porto is located at Northern Portugal and the name refers to harbor. There goes a river, called Douro, between Porto and Vila Nova De Gaia. The riverside, Ribeira, is really beautiful with different colored houses. The city is really lively and I think there is always something going on in here. The streets are filled with street artists and University students with their Hogwarts uniforms.

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I have done two practical trainings in here, the first one was at the biggest hospital in Porto, Hospital São João. I stayed at an Orthopedics ward for ten weeks. The hospital was really old and big, I managed to get lost in there several times during my stay. My next training took place in a recently renewed hospital, CMIN. I stayed for four weeks at an Obstrectical ward. I really enjoyed this training because I like to work with mothers and babys.

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Our school also arranged us a short Portuguese language course, which was really nice. I had been studied Portuguese a little already and during my stay I’ve noticed that I’ve learned a lot. The language is really difficult so I am proud if I am able to visit a supermarket or a coffee house with using only Portuguese language.

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The mentality of taking care of things is a little bit different than what I was used to in Finland. People can sometimes be a little slow and things can delay. But I have learned that you shouldn’t stress about it because it’s worth nothing. It’s better just to adapt to this “amanhã” style. In the hospitals the treatment can be a bit different but especially in my last training I think the basic care is the same than in Finland. Some things can vary because of cultural differences and I think that’s the biggest different. Sometimes I was suprised about the level of for example hygiene, but all in all I would say that the treatment is not so different.

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In my spare time I have tried to enjoy Porto as much as I can. I went to see two FC Porto football games which I really liked, visited the Port wine cellars, Matosinhos beach, parks and local markets. You can easily spend the day just walking around the city center and visiting the city of Vila Nova de Gaia and look at the breathtaking views from the bridge. Also, I would like to point out the amount of hills in Porto. You can’t avoid them, so good shoes are necessary.

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I have also travelled around Portugal, Lagos in Algarve, the capital Lisbon and the beautiful islands Azores. Now my exchange is soon coming to an end and even tho I am really exited to go back to Finland I am going to miss this place.