Located at the extreme southwest of Europe, the Republic of Portugal is constituted by the continental territory and two Autonomous Regions, the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores (Açores). The Continent is divided into 18 districts. Portugal’s total area is of 92.000 Km2 and there are around 10 million inhabitants. The Portuguese Republic borders Spain North and East and has an extensive maritime coastline South and West that bathes the Atlantic Ocean. The country’s capital is Lisbon and the official language is Portuguese.
Why Study in Portugal?
Portugal has so many sides to be considered and evaluated when talking about study there. From one point, you enjoy amazing weather, beautiful beaches and landscapes, lovely cuisine and fine wines, all making Portugal very attractive for many students all over the world when choosing the host country for mobility programme or degree. From another point, Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, with low living costs and it is far away easier for young people to find job, compared to Spain, for example. Portuguese is the world’s fourth most spoken language. It also has one of the highest growth rates as a second language in the internet, social networks and learning as a foreign language.
Apart from in the major cities and tourist areas, English isn’t as widely spoken in Portugal compared to other European countries. Approximately 32 per cent of Portuguese speak English (and 75 per cent of professionals speak English) Although the expected level of command of English may vary depending on the school and, above all, the study program or course, the usual average English language requirement you will be required to have to study in Europe is 550 – 587 points (paper-based TOEFL test), or 213 – 240 points (computer-based TOEFL test), or 79 – 95 points (Internet-based TOEFL test), or 6.5 – 7.0 score in the IELTS test. If you have not taken either the TOEFL or IELTS tests and you would like to prove your level of knowledge of English with other exams, you will need to prove you have a level of command of English corresponding to the B1/B2 level (intermediate) according to the European language passport.
Foreign students from within the EU, EEA and Switzerland are not required to have a visa for entry into Portugal. But they need to apply for an EU citizen residence card within four months of arriving in Portugal and pay a small fee. For longer periods of study, EU students may have to show proof of having sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay. Most non-EU nationalities need a visa if they plan to stay in Portugal for longer than 90 days. Students receive more exact information from their nearest Portuguese embassy. Visas cost up to 170 Euro and can take up to 2-3 months to be issued.
Cost of Living
Student rents in Portugal are amongst some of the lowest in Europe, meaning living in your own private accommodation is affordable, if difficult to arrange from outside the country. However, most universities will provide international students with somewhere to live on arrival, whether in private flats or dedicated student halls. As a guide, a private rental in Portugal will cost around €400 a month – although you may pay more in bigger cities like Lisbon and Porto. Full time students enrolled on Bachelor and Master programmes pay between 950 and 1,250 EUR/ year. For third level degrees (PhD courses), the average tuition fee can lead to approximately 2,500 – 3,000 EUR per academic year. An exception is Coimbra city, where tuition fees are smaller, around 700 EUR/year. Average living costs in Portugal vary between 650 and 850 EUR per month. These sums are meant to cover for all your expenditures: accommodation, food, public transportation and other costs. Lisbon, the capital has the highest living costs, while in smaller cities like Coimbra and other, you can easily survive with a small budget of 500 – 600 EUR/month.
Located on Portugal’s west coast, Lisbon (or Lisboa) is pretty much everything you could want from a European capital city: rich in culture, character and history, full of great food, wine, music and nightlife. Against an attractive backdrop of historic buildings, winding streets and vintage trams, Lisbon offers an eclectic selection of activities and experiences, from traditional fado music to new electronic bands, and from traditional public baths to lively cafés and even livelier nightclubs.
Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto is also located on the west coast, over 300 kilometers north of the capital. It holds its own in terms of both history and hills, and like Lisbon, combines deep historic foundations with vibrant and varied cuisine, music and nightlife. The colors of the city, as well as the narrow paths, stairways and streets, all combine with the modern atmosphere and efficient amenities to make Porto a fascinating destination for students and visitors alike.
In between Lisbon and Porto, but further inland, Coimbra is the home of Portugal’s oldest university. Here again, you’ll find medieval streets and architecture, overlaid with the buzz and dash of modern life – and in particular the activities of a fun and lively student community. The University of Coimbra is a particularly popular choice among international students coming to study in Portugal.
For more information about study options in the Portugal, please contact Equinox Education Services and we will happily manage the whole process for you!