Having just arrived in Lisbon a week ago after a few weeks of travel around Europe, I can say that I’ve had an incredible time so far, and I don’t see that ending any time soon. My classes start on the 15th of September, but my university (Nova SBE) has already organised a week of welcome activities, the first of which I went to a few days ago (casual drinks on the university lawn). Straight away, the biggest tip I can give is to commit yourself to these sessions. I often find it much easier to make an excuse not to go, but I can honestly say I am yet to regret the nights I’ve gone to. I mean, the best time to meet people is right at the start when everybody is in the same boat and nobody knows anyone else yet.
For those of you considering exchange in Lisbon, I can really recommend arriving a week or more before your classes start, giving you time to settle in (and find a place to live if you have not already) and to take advantage of these welcome events. Even better if you can rock up in Europe with a few weeks to spare for some travel before semester starts; I visited Germany, Croatia and Montenegro.
As to the city itself – it is stunning. One of my favourite things to do so far is to simply pick a direction and walk. There is always some form of stunning building, alleyway or castle waiting around a corner and I haven’t found a place where I feel unsafe. Of course, walking is not the only thing to do at nights – the night life in Bairro Alto is incredible; hundreds and hundreds of people bouncing around between small, charismatic bars and spilling onto the streets is not something to be missed. On my first night, I started off in a bar called Portas Largas where I thoroughly enjoyed the live music – a mix between Reggae and other Portuguese tracks – and let the night take me from there, finally collapsing into bed at 4.30. You can also take advantage of one of the seemingly endless pub crawls that are organised frequently by an organisation called Erasmus Life Liboa; an organisation dedicated to helping incoming exchange students meet people and otherwise organise their lives (sim cards, bank accounts etc).
All in all, while my exchange has not really started yet, I am having a great time and I only expect that to continue once the uni classes commence.
Jerome Bardoel 11971292