All posts by Sonja Järvinen

Greetings from Lisbon!

Greetings from sunny Lisbon! The autumn semester here is about to come to an end so it’s time to give a short glance of my life here as an exchange student.

ISCTE and olive trees

I did my studies at ISCTE (Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa) and I managed to enroll in two super interesting courses; Anthropology, Citizenship and Human Rights, and Contemporary Social Inequalities. I also participated in a Portuguese Beginner’s level course, which required me to study Portuguese 4 hours a week through the whole semester. I found it really painless to be an exchange student here and all my classes were taught in English.

At TAMK I’m studying my Master’s Degree in Social Services and all my studies have been remote so far. Jumping back into normal class room studying was almost like a culture shock. Also, as far as I know, in all of my classes here I was the oldest student when most of my fellow students were in their 20’s. When comparing Finnish and Portuguese Master’s Degree studies, I felt that in Finland, students are given more independency and they are expected to have already gained a certain amount of knowledge. In Portuguese classes there were also quite a lot of debates happening during classes between students, but also between students and professors, which was new to me.

Street view (and river view too) of my neighborhood Príncipe Real

Lisbon is a vivid city with lots of things to see and do. It’s compact enough to be easily explored by walking around, although its seven hills make it feel like a real exercise at times! But usually, breathtaking views come as a reward for the effort. There’s dozens of interesting sights and restaurants to visit and I feel like I didn’t get a chance to see even half of what Lisbon has to offer. My spare time here was strongly defined by the surf forecast, and every time I had a chance, I headed to the beach of Carcavelos to try to catch some waves. I’m gonna miss that so bad!

Praia de Carcavelos

During my exchange I managed to make quite a few short trips around the country. Visiting the city of Porto and the beautiful Douro Valley, as well as the southern part of the country and Algarve area were the highlights of my time in Portugal, not to forget a little fishing village Nazaré and gazing in awe at the giant waves!

The Douro Valley after the harvest season