After being in Lisbon for one month it is starting to feel less like a holiday and more like a home from home. This may be down to the weather this week, with the skies getting a little bit grey and English like meaning having to carry an umbrella rather than sun cream… but I’m still holding out for a few more sunny days! I’ve also had to get my head back round what I’m here to do, with lectures and therefore early mornings starting two weeks ago.
Comparing my Portuguese university and Sheffield, there aren’t a huge amount of differences. For example both involve theoretical and practical classes, group assignments and two semesters. An indirect difference that I have noticed is that home students during the first few weeks of the semester wear a ‘traje’ (uniform), which is composed of black blazers and trousers/skirts and black shoes. The most interesting part of the uniform is the cloak, which resembles those from Harry Potter and has caught the eye of many of the exchange students such as myself.
Another part of this tradition is to initiate the freshers with different tasks, some which can be fairly humiliating, and involving a ‘baptism’ done by a ‘godmother’ and ‘godfather’ with whom the fresher will collect their own ‘traje’ at the end of the year. This was intriguing to find out about!
Lisbon is a very Erasmus student friendly city, with organisations offering discounts to language classes, trips to different parts of Portugal and free entry to events every day of the week. My favourite was a roof top pool party in the sunshine, something you don’t get the opportunity to do every day as a student! These events so far have given me opportunities to meet people from every continent in the world, which I have found so valuable and interesting and has meant I have many tour guides when I fancy travelling somewhere new.
Even after all the excitement I do feel as if I am adapting to life here, with the differences in meal times, the very late nights out and I am even beginning to pick up small phrases in Portuguese. This definitely seems to be the right place for me to spend my year abroad and I honestly believe the city is somewhat of a hidden gem, as there are still many places for me to explore after this amount of time, and I think everyone could find something they enjoy here in Lisbon. I know I’m definitely not bored of it and interested to see what this beautiful city has in store for me.