Ah, Portugal! The land of wine, seafood, and soccer. From the bustling city streets of Lisbon to the sun-kissed beaches of the Algarve region, this small country in southwestern Europe is a destination that enchants visitors from all over the world. But did you know that Portugal is also a hidden gem for international students?
Yes, you read that right! Portugal boasts a high-quality education system, affordable tuition fees, and a welcoming culture that makes it an ideal destination for students from all around the world. With its vibrant cities, historic landmarks, and breathtaking natural beauty; however, it’s not just the country’s stunning scenery and friendly people that make Portugal an attractive destination for international students. Portugal is also the perfect place to combine your academic pursuits with an unforgettable cultural experience.
The Portuguese education system is known for its high standards and innovative teaching methods. Portugal’s universities offer a wide range of academic programs that are internationally recognized and highly respected in the academic community.
Furthermore, studying in Portugal is affordable compared to other European countries. The tuition fees are amongst the lowest in the continent, and the cost of living is reasonable, making it an attractive option for students who want to pursue their education without breaking the bank.
So, grab a pastel de nata and let’s explore why Portugal is the perfect destination for international students. From the beautiful Algarve region to the Northern rocky region, we’ll show you why Portugal should be at the top of your list for your next academic adventure!
We’re going to dwell in a few key points that will help us understand why Portugal is at the top of so many people’s list of places to study abroad:
- The Culture
- Easy Accessibility
- High Quality of Education
- The Tuition
- The Post-Studies Scene
- The Algarve
One of the most significant advantages of studying in Portugal is the welcoming and friendly culture of the Portuguese people. Portugal is known for its hospitality and warm-heartedness, and it is evident in the way international students are received in the country. It’s no mistake we are the “Best Tourist Destination in Europe” in 2022, and have been for 5 out of the last 6 years¹! The same way we receive our tourists, we receive our students coming from abroad. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with open arms and made to feel at home in this new and exciting environment.
Portuguese people are known for their love of socializing and are always willing to strike up a conversation with newcomers. Whether you’re in a cafe, restaurant, or merely walking down the street, you’re sure to be greeted with a friendly smile and a warm welcome. This open and inclusive culture creates a comfortable and welcoming environment for international students, which can help to ease any initial homesickness or culture shock.
In addition, the country is also incredibly diverse, making it easy for international students to integrate and feel at home. Portugal is a melting pot of cultures, with a rich history of trade and migration. As a result, the country has a vibrant and diverse community, which celebrates its cultural differences and encourages an inclusive and tolerant society.
Overall, the welcoming culture in Portugal is one of its biggest draws for international students. The warmth, its rich cultural heritage – with a long history of seafaring, exploration, and global trade -, and its friendly people creates an inclusive and diverse community, resulting in a culture that is open-minded and accepting of people from different backgrounds. This cultural diversity is reflected in the country’s food, music, and festivals, which are a unique and exciting experience for international students, and, in turn, makes studying in Portugal not just an academic adventure, but a cultural one too. So, come and experience the warmth and hospitality of Portugal and make memories that will last a lifetime.
One of the key reasons why Portugal has become a top destination for international students is its easy accessibility. The country has a straightforward and welcoming process for international students who wish to study in Portugal.
International students who are from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) do not need a visa to study in Portugal. However, non-EU/EEA students will need to obtain a student visa before entering the country, but there is no need to fret! The visa application process is relatively straightforward and can be done through the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in the student’s home country.
Non-EU/EEA students who plan to study in Portugal for more than 90 days will need to obtain a residency permit, and this can be done at the local Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) office within 3 days of the student´s arrival in Portugal. The residency permit will then allow international students to stay in Portugal for the duration of their studies.
Portugal is known for having relatively affordable living costs compared to other European countries. This can be especially beneficial for international students who are looking to save money while studying abroad. As with any other country, the cost of living in Portugal varies depending on the city or town, with Lisbon and Porto considered to be the most expensive cities in Portugal – although full of academic and city lifestyle, given their size and the amount of Universities each of them have -, while smaller cities, such as Braga, Coimbra, Aveiro, or even Faro, are more affordable – with an added plus of having great historical sites to visit.
Even though it is not a strict requirement, international students who plan to study in Portugal are encouraged to have a basic proficiency in Portuguese. Although absolutely not necessary – as most Portuguese people know how to communicate in English – it will help with day-to-day communication and allow students to fully immerse themselves culturally. Many universities in Portugal offer courses ministered in English, especially at the Master’s and PhD level; however, having a basic understanding of Portuguese can help students navigate their way through daily life in Portugal and make the most of their experience. Ultimately, the decision to learn Portuguese should depend on individual goals and preferences.
International students can expect to find a welcoming and diverse academic community in Portugal, with universities offering a range of programs in various fields. The country’s unique blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and its increasing modernity make it an ideal destination for students who are looking for a well-rounded academic and cultural experience.
Moreso, Portugal’s easy accessibility and welcoming environment make it an attractive destination for international students who are looking to study abroad. With its high-quality education system, affordable living costs, and rich cultural experiences, Portugal is sure to provide an enriching and unforgettable academic journey.
High Quality of Education
Portugal is known for its high-quality education system, which is renowned for its academic rigor and excellence. The country has a long history of academic achievement, with some of the world’s oldest universities, such as the University of Coimbra, founded in 1290. Despite, however, this long historical tradition present in Portugal´s academic life, Portuguese universities are constantly updating their curricula to stay up to date with the latest developments in their respective fields.
The Portuguese education system follows the Bologna process, which means that the degrees awarded by Portuguese universities are recognized and accepted throughout Europe and around the world. Portuguese universities also offer a wide range of courses and programs in various fields, such as engineering, business, arts, social sciences, among others.
In addition, many Portuguese universities are ranked among the top universities in the world, according to various international ranking systems. For instance, the University of Lisbon, one of the largest universities in Portugal, is ranked 301-350 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022. The University of Porto, another prestigious institution in Portugal, is ranked 401-500 in the same ranking system. Furthermore, the University of Algarve, located in the southern region of Portugal, is ranked between 251-300 amongst the Young Universities Ranking 2022² due to its offer of innovative, updated and modern courses.
Portuguese universities also offer state-of-the-art facilities and resources to their students, including modern libraries, research centers, and laboratories. Many universities in Portugal also have partnerships and collaborations with other institutions around the world, providing students with opportunities to study abroad and participate in international exchange programs.
Overall, the high-quality education system in Portugal, coupled with its world-renowned universities and state-of-the-art facilities, make it an excellent destination for international students seeking a top-notch education. So, if you’re looking for a high-quality education that is globally recognized, Portugal should be on your list of potential study-abroad destinations, as there is a long list of institutions to choose from!
When it comes to the cost of studying abroad, tuition fees are often the biggest concern for international students. But in Portugal, studying at a university is relatively affordable compared to other European countries. In fact, Portugal is known for having some of the most affordable tuition fees in Europe.
The tuition fees in Portugal vary depending on the institution and the program you choose, but they are generally lower than in other European countries such as the UK, Germany, or France. For example, the average annual tuition fee for undergraduate programs in Portugal ranges from €1,000 to €5,000 per year, while the average annual tuition fee for a Master’s program is around €1,500 to €6,000 per year.
Moreover, Portugal offers a range of scholarships and financial aid opportunities for international students to help cover the cost of their tuition fees and living expenses. The Portuguese government, as well as the universities themselves, offer various scholarships and grants for students who meet specific criteria, such as academic excellence, financial need, or cultural background.
Aside from the affordable tuition fees, the costs of living in Portugal are also reasonable compared to other European countries. Accommodation, food, and transportation are generally affordable, making it easier for students to manage their expenses during their studies,while still being able to fully enjoy their leisure time however they choose, without the need to cut back on expenses – after all, study-life balance is an important part of any and every academic life.
Overall, the affordable tuition fees in Portugal make it an attractive destination for international students who want to pursue higher education without incurring massive debt. Furthermore, the country’s financial aid opportunities and lower cost of living add to the appeal of studying in Portugal. So, if you’re looking for a high-quality education that won’t break the bank, Portugal might just be the perfect destination for you.
The Post-Studies Scene
Internship opportunities are plentiful in Portugal, with many universities and companies offering students the chance to gain practical experience in their respective fields. Portuguese universities have established partnerships with various companies, organizations, and research centers to provide their students with internship opportunities and professional development programs.
Many companies in Portugal offer internships to students, which range from short-term programs to longer-term arrangements, depending on the company and the nature of the work. These internships can provide students with valuable experience in their chosen field, as well as valuable connections and networking opportunities that can help them to further develop their desired careers.
Furthermore, many universities in Portugal offer internship programs that are specifically designed for international students. These programs often involve partnerships with companies and organizations in various fields, providing students with hands-on experience in their chosen field of study. For example, the University of Algarve offers internships in various fields, including tourism, hospitality, marine biology, environmental science, among others.
Portuguese universities also have established partnerships with international organizations and institutions, providing students with opportunities to intern abroad and gain valuable international experience. These international internship opportunities can help students develop a global perspective and gain valuable skills and knowledge that can be applied in their future careers.
In addition, Portugal’s thriving startup scene provides many internship opportunities for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Portugal is home to several startup incubators and accelerators, providing students with opportunities to work alongside entrepreneurs and startups and gain firsthand experience in the startup ecosystem.
Overall, Portugal offers a wide range of internship opportunities for international students, providing them with practical experience, valuable connections, and networking opportunities that can help them in their future careers. Whether you’re interested in working for a large corporation, a small startup, or an international organization, Portugal has something to offer.
Given all that we presented so far, we must bring special attention to the Portuguese southern region of Algarve. Oh, the Algarve…
The Algarve region is amongst the most popular destinations for tourists, renowned for its stunning beaches – some ranked amongst the most beautiful in Europe -, warm climate, and vibrant culture. The region also offers excellent opportunities for international students seeking a high-quality education. The University of Algarve, located in the city of Faro, is a top-ranked university in Portugal, offering a wide range of programs in various fields.
The University of Algarve has a strong reputation for academic excellence, with several of its programs ranked among the best in the country. The university’s research departments are particularly noteworthy, with research activities in areas such as marine sciences, renewable energy, tourism and hospitality, among others. In fact, the university has established partnerships with several research institutions and companies, providing students with opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research projects.
The University of Algarve also offers excellent facilities for students, including modern classrooms, laboratories, and libraries, as well as a vibrant campus community. The university’s diverse student body and international faculty provide students with a unique opportunity to engage with different cultures and perspectives, fostering a dynamic and inclusive learning environment.
In addition, the University of Algarve offers several programs specifically designed for international students, including a range of undergraduate and graduate programs ministered in English, and a broad offer of study abroad and exchange programs, allowing students to study and gain experience in other countries.
The Algarve region itself, also offers many opportunities for students to engage in cultural and recreational activities outside of their academic studies. The region is home to several historical landmarks, museums, and galleries, besides being extremely favorable to the practice of numerous outdoor activities as well, such as hiking, surfing, and sailing. The region’s vibrant nightlife and food scene also provide ample opportunities for students to explore and immerse themselves in Portuguese culture.
All in all, the Algarve region and the University of Algarve offer excellent opportunities for international students seeking a high-quality education and a vibrant cultural experience. With its excellent – and modern! – academic programs, state-of-the-art facilities, and diverse student body, the University of Algarve is an excellent choice for students interested in studying in Portugal. The region’s stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture are sure to provide an ideal backdrop for students to learn, grow, and explore.
Overall, Portugal is a top destination for international students seeking a high-quality education, with affordable tuition fees, excellent academic programs, and a welcoming culture. The country’s universities are renowned for their academic excellence, with several of its programs ranked among the best in Europe. The University of Algarve is a particularly compelling option, with its diverse range of programs, exceptional research facilities, and vibrant campus community, as well as for the “out of the classroom” list of activities available in the region.
Without a doubt Portugal offers excellent opportunities for students to gain practical experience through internships, particularly in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. The country’s warm climate, rich history, and stunning natural landscapes provide an ideal backdrop for students seeking to engage in cultural and recreational activities outside of their academic studies.
In conclusion, Portugal offers a unique blend of academic excellence, cultural richness, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for international students seeking a well-rounded educational experience. Whether you choose to study in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve, you’re sure to find a warm and welcoming community of scholars and a vibrant culture to explore.