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Study in Portugal

10 Reasons to study in Portugal

Useful Information

Students must consider several important aspects when thinking about studying and living outside their native country. Social aspects such as health and insurance cover, accommodation and the cost of living are among the main issues. Some background and geographical details will also be useful to get a better idea of the country and the people.

Portugal: Main Features

Portugal lies on the western side of the Iberian Peninsula, with 832 Km of Atlantic coast and 1 215 Km of land border with Spain. It also includes Madeira and the Azores, two groups of islands in the Atlantic.

The country's location determined the Portuguese vocation for the sea right from the start, and the Portuguese were the first to discover the sea routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan. The privilege of being exposed to so many cultures, as well as receiving so many visitors from ancient civilisations in Portugal, influenced the Portuguese way of being and made the Portuguese language widely known. Of Latin origin, Portuguese is the third most widely spoken European language in the world, and is mother tongue to about 200 million people. In turn, many Portuguese citizens can communicate easily in English, French and Spanish, which has much to do with the good reputation of Portuguese hospitality.

Portugal's history of encounters and deeds has also contributed to the vast monumental, artistic and archaeological heritage seen all over Portugal in monuments, museums and cultural traditions (Festivities; Gastronomy; Bullfights; Fado…).

The Portuguese mainland enjoys a mild climate, without high fluctuations in temperature. The winter is not harsh and the heat in summer is moderate. The temperature climate in the Azores is influence by the latitude of the islands and by the changing tides of the Gulf Stream, while the archipelago of Madeira enjoys a subtropical climate throughout the year.
The natural advantages of a sunny country with such diverse geographical features have turned Portugal into a chosen destination not only for holidaymakers but also for people aware of the personal benefits to be gained from studying abroad. For many people Portugal holds many attractions such as a relaxed way of life, warm climate and, on the whole, the cost of living is much lower than in the other European countries.

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, and stands on the right bank of the river Tagus (Tejo). Its source lies in Spain, but part of its journey to the sea lies within Portuguese borders before it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Apart from Lisbon, Oporto and Coimbra in the North, and Évora and Faro in the South, are some of the most important cities in Portugal. All of them are major university centres.

The populations of mainland Portugal is relatively small (around ten million). Most Portuguese are Catholic, but this country's constitution guarantees religious freedom and there are many different places of worship. Traditional religious beliefs flourish alongside a modern urban lifestyle.

For additional background and tourist information contact the Portuguese Embassy or any tourist office in Portugal.


The unit of currency in Portugal is the Euro (€)


Banks are open to the public from 8.30h to 15.00h on weekdays. Some outlets, and tourist resort outlets, close only at 18.00h. All banks, except for those located in the so-called citizen shops in Aveiro, Lisbon, Oporto and Viseu, are closed at weekends and on public holidays. Citizen shops are open from Monday to Friday from 8.30h to 19.30h, and on Saturdays from 9.30h to 15.00h.

There are no restrictions to foreign students or trainees opening a bank account in Portugal. A statement of all transactions will normally be sent to you and cash point access will be available.

A bank will be a great advantage as it will give access to every cash point in the country, wherever the location. Cash points can be used to withdraw cash check account balances. Bills can also be paid by bank transfer, which saves time and the need to deal with cash. However, there may be a small charge for this kind of service. Proof of identify and permanent residence will probably be required when requesting a bank transfer.

Automated Teller Machines

There is a national network of automated cash machines, open around the clock,  identified as MB - MULTIBANCO, from which cash is dispensed 24 hours a day. 200 € is the maximum amount that can be drawn per day with an MB card. However, this amount is separate from other payments made on the same day using the MB card in stores, restaurants or for public services.

Train and theatre tickets may also be purchased with the MB card. Train tickets may be purchased with the MB card from up to 8 days in advance until 15 minutes prior to departure. To change a ticket contact the railway station.

Please consult the following web pages:
Bus lines: Carris
Metro: Metro
Train: CP


Money can be exchanged at any bank in Portugal, at automatic teller machines as well as at currency exchange agencies. There is a fixed service charge for exchanging money, whether the amount is large or small. Foreign currency can also be exchanged at some hotels.
An extra commission is charged on money transfers to or from destination and varies according to the destination. There is no need to open a bank account in Portugal to receive money from abroad. Money orders can always be sent via the Post Office.

Credit Cards

In Portugal the most widely accepted credit cards are: VISA; EUROCARD/MASTERCARD; AMERICAN EXPRESS; MAESTRO; CIRRUS; EC EUROCHEQUE; 4B (Spain) CLAU (Andorra); EUROCHEQUE and EUFISERV.

Cost of living

Living expenses will depend mainly on the type of accommodation and where meals are eaten. Other expenses are likely to involve travel, hobbies and leisure activities, clothes, medical care, books and other personal needs.

On average 650 € a month will probably be sufficient for student to live.

Cost of living/month in Euros

Accommodation 300€ to 450€
Transports 30€ (for all transportation inside the city center)
Meals 225€
Other Costs 150 €

Student who benefit from any kind of assistance for accommodation, food, transports, medical care or other facilities obviously require less of their own money. Financial difficulties can still be overcome by finding paid employment, providing this does not affect the study programme.

Health Services

National emergency number: 112

Hospital S. Francisco Xavier Hospital, situated near Restelo.
The Hospital São Francisco Xavier has emergency facilities. 

Address: Estrada Forte do Alto do Duque 
Hospital Santa Maria Large hospital, nicely situated in the centre, near Eixo Norte Sul. The Hospital de Santa Maria has emergency facilities, department for cardiology, cardio-thoracic surgery, plastic surgery, vascular surgery, dermatology, infectious diseases, stomatology, gynaecology, neuro surgery, neurology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, orthopaedics,paediatrics, pneumology, psychiatry and urology. For your convenience we also have a bar and a parking.

Address: Avenida Professor Egas Moniz. 
Hospital Curry Cabral Hospital, nicely situated in the centre, near Praça de Espanha. The Hospital Curry Cabral has emergency facilities, department for dermatology, endocrinology, nephrology, orthopaedics and urology and is specialised in dermatology, endocrinology, nephrology, orthopaedics and urology. 

Address: Rua da Beneficiência, 8

Hospital São José The Hospital de São José has emergency facilities.

Address:Rua José António Serrano 
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