Disclosure: This article is super biased because not only I fell in love with Portugal, I had the time of my life with the Erasmus Life Lisboa trips & activities, so much so that I returned to Lisbon for an Erasmus+ internship at ELL!
I am Patrícia, a Hungarian girl, who is studying in Austria.
In August 2018, the greatest adventure of my life started when I packed all my things in a huge luggage and moved to Lisbon for Erasmus. I spent my exchange semester at Nova School of Business and Economics, which is located in Carcavelos right next to the beach, approximately 20 min away from Lisbon. Before arriving at Lisbon, I was super excited about the new experience, although I’ve never spent such a long time away from my family and friends. Moreover, I have never been to Portugal before.
As for the preparation, the accommodation searching process didn’t go as smoothly as I expected. Many websites offer accommodation although it was difficult to find a well-located and nicely equipped flat. Unfortunately, there are also lots of scammers in Lisbon, which made it harder to find my Portuguese home. (That is why, for the second time I learnt from my mistake and started the search and booked my flat earlier.) Once I arrived there, I immediately felt that Portuguese people are extremely open, friendly and helpful. I came a couple of days earlier than my semester started to have enough time to discover the city beforehand.
During my first days, I was just walking around the city and enjoyed the last summer days. The more I walked the more I fell in love with Lisbon. One of my first walks led to the Erasmus Life Lisboa office, where I got my Erasmus card, which provided me not only with an ELL Card but also with transport vouchers and a Portuguese SIM Card. The staff was extremely welcoming and helpful. Already during the welcome week, I participated in many welcome events and excursions organized by ELL and my university, given that Erasmus Life Lisboa is the official partner of the university for Erasmus activities. In these trips, I could meet diverse people from all over the world, as Lisbon is one of the greatest Erasmus cities in Europe. I enjoyed the events as all of them gave me a different insight into the Portuguese culture!
Therefore, I decided to make the best out of my Erasmus and go to as many places as I can to get to know Portugal better. Mainly I participated in trips organized by Erasmus Life Lisboa, because of the huge range of programs. Thanks to ELL, I could visit several hidden beauties of Portugal, which are hardly approachable as a solo traveler such as Sesimbra and Berlengas. Also, the events had such a great atmosphere, so I participated in more and more programs each weekend.
My favorite ELL trips were Algarve, Sintra and Spain & Gibraltar. Besides these, I visited the island of São Miguel in the Açores, which is a wonderful natural beauty in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 2 hours away from Lisbon by plane. The flights are relatively cheap, especially during the autumn and winter. It is worth a visit, while one is in Portugal for a longer period, as the weather is always nice there.
Overall, I couldn’t wish for a more adventurous stay in Portugal. Lisbon became my second home. It is a gorgeous city with many amazing viewpoints, nice bars, and beaches around.
It is a wonderful place to live, and I enjoyed my Erasmus here so much that I came back for my next adventure, an internship, as a staff of ELL. All in all, trust me, Lisbon is the perfect destination for doing Erasmus!