Erasmus Experience in Lisbon, Portugal by tajana

Published by t k — 2 months ago

0 Tags: Erasmus experiences Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Why did you choose to go to Lisbon, Portugal?

Lisbon sort of chose me - I didn't plan it, as I've always considered myself a person more suited for the cities of northern Europe. But I got an internship in a gallery/artist residency center there, and given my studies, it seemed like a good fit.

How long is the scholarship? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?

I was in Lisbon from January until mid-May. I could have stayed longer but I had to return home because I had some exams due. My scholarship was 510€ per month.

What is the student lifestyle like in Lisbon?

I didn't really get inside the Erasmus community, as most people I've met at my workplace as well as my roommates were people already done with their studies, but we've lived like students alright:)

I'd say the lifestyle is very chill but very fluid, you go to work/university, you go for lunch, read in a park, you grab a beer at the miradouro, go to an exhibition opening, then for a bite, you walk around the city, then decide to dance and drink some more and possibly even more etc. For me it felt like an never-ending story, always bumping into someone you know from here and there and going to yet another place.

Would you recommend the city and the University of Lisbon to other students?

I don't know about the University per se, but Lisbon is an amazing, beautiful city and I'd recommend it any day.

What is the food like?

You can always hear everyone raving about Portuguese food. I haven't tried that many national dishes as I'm a vegetarian and most of their original cuisine consists of fish and seafood (bacalhau on every step lolz). However, whatever I did try was really good. The prices are very reasonable as well. Aim for small, shady-looking places with 70s aesthetics, the food is the best there, trust me.
I will also vouch with my life for pasteis de nata and (if bought at the right place, Padaria Portuguesa excluded) brigadeiros. The latter are actually Brazilian, but i just lurvv them so much. Worldwide cuisine choices are available, I especially loved going for African and Nepalese.

Did it cost you to find your accommodation in Lisbon?

I found accommodation relatively quickly, but I did spend quite some time refreshing facebook groups and some other pages. If you're coming for an exchange it's a start of a new term so there should be plenty available, even though it may not seem like it. My apartment was located downtown, by the river and I was paying 380€ (all bills included) for a room+balcony in a huge apartment with three other people, two bathrooms and three cats :) despite what you hear, there are cheaper options, specially if you don't mind living a bit further. Arroios, Anjos, Intendente and Penha Franca are all cool neighborhoods with a lot of students and there are plenty of cheaper places there.

How much does it cost to live in Lisbon?

In general I'd say I was spending about 500-600€ per month (room excluded), but of course you could go by with less by avoiding eating out and drinking out most of the time. Then again I did buy a lot of books form antique shops each month... Lisbon really isn't that expensive. There are even places where you can eat for 2-3€, like the cultural-social project RDA in Anjos (check it out, it's super cool). Also, the wine in most bars is divinely cheap (and good).

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?

I didn't really make an effort to learn the language because I didn't like it, but with time it grew on me and I now find it beautiful. I can understand and say basic, everyday stuff, which I think is great considering I never even tried. In general it's considered to be hard, but if you already speak Spanish it will be a bit easier to understand.

Where would you recommend to go on a night out in Lisbon?

House parties are big there, at least from my experience. Otherwise it depends on what you prefer; there are a lot of places that play Brazilian samba, Angolan semba &co. If you like that kind of stuff go to Barto, you'll love it. Casa Independente used to be cool as well, also Anjos70. Personally I'm more into the alternative and techno scene - for this kind of stuff I'm afraid there are not that many good places and it's the one thing I've truly missed in Lisbon. There's club Lux and EKA Palace, but considering what I'm used to, none swept me off my feet. I liked going to ZDB in Bairro, as well as Botequim and Damas (both in Graca, my favorite neighborhood). If you are into Erasmus parties, go to Cais do Sodre, otherwise skip it (also, Musicbox will never be worth the 12€ entrance fee).

And for eating? Can you recommend some good restaurants in Lisbon?

On every step there is a "quiosque", I loved them, you can have coffee, drinks, soup, tosta mista or a salad for very little money.
A Cabreira - a small pasteleria in Graca, with the restaurant at the back. Typical Portuguese food, amazing fresh fish, cheap, no one speaks English but you'll adore them instantly. Grab one of the two tables outside, eat in the sun and then stroll to the dog park for a bica and the most amazing view of all of Lisbon.
Graca77 - really good vegetarian food (rare around here).
Santa Clara dos Cogumelos - they do all of their dishes with mushrooms :)
Tasca mastai - this is actually a tiny Italian bar at the edge of Bairro alto but they serve amazing drinks, really good small meals and they are the nicest people ever. Also Italian: Nanarella - best gelato. Then there is the illegal Chinese, but I'll leave you to find out about that one yourselves.

What good cultural sites are there to visit?

I prefer museums and small galleries to the actual "sites" - I loved the Berardo Museum and MAAT, and a bunch of small galleries located in Xabregas. Miradouros are amazing in Lisbon, specially Santa Catarina/Adamastor. Fado is basically a landmark, but when you go please don't do one of the overpriced, touristy fado versions where they perform on a stage - find a small tasca in Alfama instead.

Is there any other advice that you could give to students going to Lisbon in the future?

Just relax, it's a super chill city full of amazing architecture, food and art. It's really easy to meet new people because everybody is very friendly. Grab a beer (not their strong suit honestly) or amendoa amarga and enjoy the amazing sunny weather.

Share your Erasmus Experience in Lisbon!

If you know Lisbon as native, traveler or as exchange student... share your opinion on Lisbon! Rate different characteristics and share your experience.

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