And how are things in Lisbon?

Olá! Nice weather, cheap food and drinks, and everything on a Portuguese pace, that's how it works here in Lisbon. As a Data Science in Engineering master’s student, I will be in the Portuguese capital for 5 months to follow courses at the technical university here. But in addition to the higher temperatures, some things are more difficult for us to get used to as a student from The Netherlands: long waiting times and hills upon hills upon hills…

photo Daan Hegger

With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, my exchange started in September as an ideal extension of the summer. Here we have been lying on the beach until the first week of November, and we expect to celebrate New Year's Eve in our summer coats.

As expected, studying in Lisbon has major differences from daily study life at TU/e. Most importantly: punctuality. This is a characteristic that Portuguese people lack. Every lecture, lab, or project meeting always starts at least 10 minutes late. And both teachers and students are happy to participate in this.

You can also see that slow attitude at other places in the city. Don't be surprised if, for example, you stand in line longer to pay for your groceries in Lisbon than you have to wait for security at Eindhoven Airport. Here in Portugal, they don’t like to open a second register during rush hour. Once you have trained your patience, you will get a beautiful city in return to live in for half a year.

Since the city is built on seven hills, it has many miradouros (viewpoints). You and your hamstrings will be scared of the many stairs at first, but you get used to this quickly, and you are often rewarded with beautiful pictures here.

Read on below the photo.

There are countless ways to spend your leisure time here in this city. It often starts with getting to know other (exchange) students to pass the time. You can get to know them here in Lisbon by simply grabbing a drink in Bairro Alto (Lisbon’s  Stratumseind) or by participating in activities of the Erasmus association.

What I like about the exchange friends you make here is that they can come from anywhere in the world. You suddenly know people from Ecuador, Switzerland, and Finland and you live together in a house with a Frenchman, Estonian, and Indian. With a nice group of people around you, you can get the best out of your half year.

In and around the city I really enjoyed the beach, hike, and surf days. In addition, you have the iconic yellow trams, beautiful neighbourhoods such as Belém, and impressive parks and palaces in Sintra. But there is also plenty to discover outside of Lisbon. For example, as a weekend trip, we went to both Porto and the Algarve, both of which are only a 3-hour drive from the capital.

Studying abroad takes you outside your comfort zone, which is a challenge that I recommend to everyone. Especially choose Lisbon if you are not averse to nice weather, if you can live with a tranquilo mindset and are open to a completely non-Dutch adventure!

Share this article