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Culture, Language and Student life in Portugal

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One of the southern Europe nations, Portugal is famous for its culture and traditions and has a wide range of study abroad possibilities. Once a formidable colonial power, Portugal had a strong connection with India. Sea route to India was discovered by the Portuguese sailor Vasco Da Gama in 1498. Goa was a Portuguese colony till the 1960s.

Portugal is situated in the south-west of Europe and also includes the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores. It is a small country located in between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean but is rich in culture and natural beauty. The Portuguese universities have evolved since the 12th century with University of Coimbra being the oldest university in Portugal. This university was moved to Lisbon in the 1530s.

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate and is the westernmost country in mainland Europe. Most of it are sunny year-round with a bit of snow in the northern mountains. The country has Islamic and Christian influences. There are several heritage spots and places of worship of both.

Portugal is among the 20 most visited countries in the world, receiving an average of 13 million foreign tourists each year. It has beautiful beaches, islands and highlands. The highest peak is a winter sport destination. The heritage and architecture of the country is a big draw. Portugal is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 8th in Europe and 17th in the world.

According to World Bank, Portugal has a GDP (current US$) $229.6 billion 2014. The country has a total population of 10.40 million in 2014. Portugal has a low cost of living compared to other EU countries.
Portugal has traditionally been into businesses with other European nations. However, it has been recently looking to business partners beyond the European Union. Portugal's president, Aníbal Cavaco Silva said, "Some time ago now, they started looking in a very particular way at the potential of Mozambique." 


Portugal is very welcoming for foreign students. It has educational institutions with good infrastructure some with a long history. After 11th-grade students have to appear for a qualifying exam for higher education. The exam is in Portuguese language and the subject.

The higher education system is undergoing major revisions as per the Bologna process with the focus on quality education and evaluation and modernization and internationalization of higher education.  The Bologna process was adopted by many European nations to modernize higher education, and promote mobility and recognition for building a knowledge-based economy and society. This improvement is evident from QS World Ranking of Portuguese universities.  The Universidade Nova de Lisboa stands 5th on the international list of top 50 universities under 50 years of age, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa –UCP is well known for the Master’s in Management while University of Porto –FAUP is a renowned European architecture school.  Five Portuguese universities rank within 700 in the QS World University Ranking: University of Porto- 293rd, Universidade Nova de Lisboa-312nd, University of Coimbra- 351st, University of Lisbon 501-550 band, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa Lisboa 601-650 band. No doubt Portugal is a good choice for study abroad.
In Portugal, the higher education system is offered in universities and polytechnics, both public and private.  In all, there are 14 public universities, 20 public polytechnics, 6 military/ police academies, 33 private universities and 54 private polytechnics. You can choose to study for any of bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees as per your current qualification and future requirement. Only universities can award PhDs. The Portuguese universities offer degrees in various disciplines including but not limited to engineering, technology, medicine, management, education, sciences, law, pharmacy, management, economics, psychology, agriculture, sports, arts, architecture, humanities etc.

You will be glad to know that studying option in Portugal is quite affordable for various reasons. It is the cheapest country, living and tuition costs are low as compared to other European countries. Did you know that Lisbon is the cheapest city in Western Europe?  The courses are taught in English and the academic year comprises of two semesters. The campus life is filled with fun, and activities focused on holistic development. Weekends and holidays are opportunities for exploring history and culture, or relaxing on the beach or partying with friends. If you plan to take admission in any Portuguese university, you will have access to discounts at metro, museums, historical locations by showing your student id. The locals are warm, hospitable and friendly just like the weather. International students are welcomed with hugs and kisses. The country is a safe place to study.

Along with your studies, you can join any of the hundreds of start-ups or small companies and network with professionals. Once your studies are complete, you can move on to join any of the local start-ups or take up leading positions in any international business.

So overall, a high-quality study abroad in Portugal based on the Bologna process, low tuition and living costs and a safe international experience.  



Portugal has more scope of employment for people who know English. Jobs in the teaching of English language and jobs in the tourism industry are on the rise. It is quite easy to get a teaching job if you have an internationally recognised TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate.

Portugal has a shortage of workers in more specialised areas like medicine, nursing and information technology. And foreign workers abound in these sectors. A must requirement for these jobs is that you must speak Portuguese fluently. A recent growth in telecommunications and aerospace is also opening possibilities of jobs in this sector.

Being part of the EU, you can move to other European nations once you become a Portuguese national.

Also, Portuguese government is actively encouraging Portuguese investment in foreign countries, especially in Africa. Africa as we know in one of the sunrise areas. A new age in dawning on the continent.  


Portugal is a developed economy. Tourism is an important service industry.

Presently, the country is part of the European Union.  Euro is the currency used. Portugal is facing an uphill task in saving the underperforming economy.  It has huge debt and has been bailed out twice Austerity measures are ongoing.

Most of its imports and exports are with the EU.


Portugal has a unique culture with Mediterranean and Iberian influences. Portugal has a long history of art and cinema. Portuguese literature is also world famous.  Portuguese culture shows Muslim and Christian hints. The rural areas have distinctive culture and cuisine. Portugal is also known for its soccer craziness. Christian Ronaldo is one of the most loved players.

The castles and churches of central Portugal are some of the best heritage sites in Europe. The south is known for its sunny beaches and beach culture. The Portuguese are happy to go lucky people and many people like the laid back lifestyle here so much that they even buy villas to live here on vacation or even permanently.


Portugal is quite popular as a tourist destination. The sunny beaches and the Mediterranean climate in the south attract many Europeans who want to enjoy the Sun. Portugal also has a rich culture with several heritage sites. In its long history, Portugal has been invaded by many and was home to a mixture of races like Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians all of whom have left their mark on the Iberian nation.

Lisbon, the capital city has a fine mix of medieval and modern. Quaint structures, museums, squares etc make it perfect for a family holiday. Funchal, the capital of the Madeira archipelago is at the crossroads of culture and continents. Porto, Albufeira, Cascais and Portimao are some other popular destinations

 The countryside with small hamlets and slow pace of life combined with tasty food and wine is an attraction for those who seek a laidback holiday. Trekking in the hills or by the cliffs is another pastime of tourists. 


Portugal enjoys the sunshine much longer than the rest of Europe. The weather, therefore, is quite warm with an average temperature of around 15°C in the north, and 18°C in the south. Summer temperatures can go up to 30°C. The northern regions are cooler and also get more rainfall which is scant in most parts.

The seaside and islands are warm throughout the year. No wonder it has some real good golf courses open year around. The northern parts get snow in winter and there are few ski resorts too. The midlands offer some scenic views with cliffs and highlands.

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Polytechnic Institute 0f Coimbra-Portugal

Coimbra, Portugal




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