Tag Archives: Portugal

Memorable but unhappy spring semester in Porto

I started my journey in Porto in the beginning of February. I loved city of Porto at the first sight. City was super pretty, and the size was just perfect to walk around. All the people I met were super kind and helpful.

I did my studies in ISCAP, which ended up being really nice school for foreign students, as there were a lot of exchange students and also a lot of organized events for us.

I study business administration and ISCAP was good school for business students. The whole master’s degree was in English, which is nice for the international students. Even though we do bachelor’s degrees, ISCAP offers the master courses for the exchange students also. Some of them are quite hard, but some of them can be compared to lectures in TAMK.

Lectures were similar than in TAMK. Some of them were really difficult as the teaching was also in English of course, and in Finland we have been used to study in Finnish and the vocabulary is new. Some of the courses were really practical and had a lot of group works. One thing I found out that was really different there, was that students were not allowed to question the teacher. While in Finland the teachers want students to question them.

I spent my spare time with my new friends I got to know there. I really loved the city of Porto. We loved to go to see the sunset and enjoy picnics with some wine and baguette.

 

We travelled together to Lisbon and one smaller city called Aveiro. One of the best things in exchange is to get to travel around. That was one of the reasons I selected Porto, because I wanted to be able to travel around and also enjoy the ocean. Actually, I just had time to go to Madrid also right before corona exploded. Coronavirus certainly interrupted my Erasmus exchange which was stupid and sad. That means that I needed to quit my exchange period in Porto after 1,5 months. 🙁 But I will go back for sure 🙂

Sunny Exchange In Lisbon, Portugal

I chose to start my third year of culture and art studies in Lisbon, Portugal. My exchange school Escola Superior de Comunicacao Social mainly focused on social communication studies, whereas my studies in TAMK focus on film and television. I had school only around 10 hours a week and projects and essays did not take a lot of time either. The level of teaching was notably lower than in TAMK and therefore my exchange was way more about free time and travelling than studying. I do not recommend this school if you really want to study, but for more relaxed semester Lisbon is the perfect place.

Portuguese people are also quite chill, which is a nice way of living. However, when you need to get things done it can get frustrating. I had a lot of problems to get even accepted to my exchange school, just because they did not do the paper work on time and it took weeks to answer my emails. Buses never come on time and workers at cafes do not hurry with your coffee. For Finnish people it can be irritating, because we are used to get things done on time. After accepting the slow and relaxed way of Portuguese people, I started to enjoy the relaxed and laid-back way of life.

Lisbon is known for the countless amazing viewpoints around the city, where you can enjoy a wide view of the city and cheap wine. Most of the things in Portugal is cheaper than in Finland, which makes life even more relaxed. The weather is amazing all-around year and it really affects your mood and helps with autumn depression. This year beach weather lasted till the end of October and in December and January it was still mainly sunny and about 15-20 degrees. There are tens of beaches close to Lisbon and trying out surfing is a must. Portugal is a quite small country, so all the beautiful places of Portugal are easily reachable, for example Porto, Algarve and Obidos. Also, it is easier to find cheap flights to other European countries, one way starting from 10€. I recommend buying Erasmus cards to ESN and ELL, the Erasmus organizations which arrange various events, trips and parties. For example, I got to do skydiving and surfing, which were great experiences.

My experience with the school was not the best, but I would not change anything about the experience. Lisbon and Portugal is full of other opportunities, so you will not get bored during the exchange.

 

Greetings from sunny Lissabon!

I’m gonna tell you something about my exchange in Lissabon. I went there in September and stayed there five months. At first we had Portuguese language course which lasted two weeks before our actually studies. That was really nice way to get to know people before actually starting school! The actual studies were full of group works and presentations, which was nice at first but you get tired of that little by little. Studies were a lot different than in Finland, but I didn’t expect that I would have better studies abroad than in Finland. At least the city was so nice that not so good school wasn’t that big deal.

Best way to meet all the exchange students and get to know people as much as possible is to go to different events that ESN and ELL organize. (https://erasmuslifelisboa.com). They organize pubcrowls, trips to smaller cities, skydiving (which was so cool, huge recommendation!!), speed friending and a lot more. By participating to these, you will definitely find interesting people from different countries!  

I travelled around Portugal, to smaller cities. The most beautiful place I can recommend is Setubal, a lot of beaches there and so quiet, totally peace. I can tell you a couple of places also in Lissabon, you should visit. Beautiful beaches, like Carcavelos and Cascais. You get there easily with train. Tram 28 is the most famous tram in Lissabon and it goes through the whole city, so that is good way to see city also if you don’t have energy to walk around city. Lissabon is full of uphill, so many people use tram 28 to see the city.  Belem is near to the center, and there is Torre de Belem, which is worth to visit. There is many viewpoints in the city, where you can see beautiful sunsets and the whole city.

All in all, my stay in Lissabon was really good. I wouldn’t change a day!

Senni

 

Saudações de Coimbra!

I study to be a nurse and I decided to come Portugal to do my practical trainings.

Six years ago I was studying to be a sport massager at Spain, Fuengirola and from there I made few weeks training period at south of Portugal, Algarve aria. So I had small touch of Portuguese culture before I came here, but I was curious to know and see more about it.

Coimbra is located between Porto and Lisbon, middle of Portugal. It is historical city and have been capital city of Portugal 1200-1500 century. Here is beautiful architecture, beautiful coffee places, cakes, beautiful clothes and people as well. Also here is good food and one of the most oldest University in Europe and University library.

Portuguese people are much more calm than Spanish and that passion and craziness I have missed  here a bit. Some people they say that Portuguese people are more like Finns than Spanish and that is quite true. They are calm but they like to drink a lot and then to be really crazy.

I feel the culture here is quite conservative, patriotic and family oriented. People are mostly nice and helpful but sometimes they act arrogantly.  I have been thinking that one reason for it is bad economic conditions were very poor in some places. The scarcity of resources was also noticeable in the hospital where I worked.

I do here two internships at two different hospitals. First one I already finished in Pediatric hospital. There I learned lot of information of different problems what children had and had chance to practice to make medicines and administrate them to patience’s. Mostly I liked my internship but had challenges too, like didn’t get so well along with my main tutor. That experience was tuff for me and specially because I didn’t know how I should act in strange culture as a student when my tutor hurt me by words. After my internship finished I had long discussion with my teacher and I learned a lot of this difficult situation mostly about myself, how to act in future if I will face similar kind of situation.

On my free time I have  travelled with my new Brazilian friend to Algarve, where I was six years ago. My dream was to see the sea and rocks and we manage to get there. Also I visited Porto with my friends, who have van. Those times I enjoyed a lot and I would like to travel more in future. But it is a contradiction because in other way I´m so chicken to travel alone. So I need to face my fears to get what I want.

Here is some pictures:

Greetings from Faro who stole my heart

I choose Portugal because it was the one and only place where I can do traineeship exchange and have the warm weather. It is ”winter” in here now, but I can compare this weather to finnish summer and it’s actually warmer than that. My exchange is located to Faro’s central hospital. I will be in the hospitals x-ray department for three months and there I will do my practical training. At the hospital I can do conventional x-rays, computed tomography exams, MRI exams and mammography. I have done all kind of shifts, including morning shift from 9am to 3pm, evening shift from 3pm to 9pm or night shift from 9pm to 9am and also combinations of these.

At my spare time i have done a loooooot of school works, I even think that it is way too much school work in addition to the the 3 months of traineeship. Because I want explore and experience as much as possible. Of course at my spare time I have also spent time at the beach or at the terrace, anywhere in the sun. And of course i have done all of the super cool activities like cave tours, water sports, go-karting ect. I have also travelled a lot around the country. Example to Lagos, Portimao, Porto, Lisbon and Sevilla, which is in SPAIN. It takes about 3 hours to go Sevilla from faro and costs only 20€?! So I had to take that opportunity and go explore that city also. The travelling opportunities are amazing, specially because the travelling is super cheap in here. Hotels are also pretty cheap now, because now it is off-season.

If I compere this placement to the placements I have done in finland they are actually pretty same. There is a lot of differences ofcourse, but if you look at the big picture, the differences arent that big. But if you compere the athmosphere to finnish hospital it is so much more different. Here the staff behaves like a huge family, you can feel the love in the air. And in Finland it is no where near to that.

I will defenetly come back to Portugal. I really fell in love with this place!

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.