• Living Abroad
Living as a foreigner in Portugal: It’s been one of my great wishes for years now – to one day visit Portugal. But, I never thought that I would actually be able to live there for 3 months. Now, visiting a country and living there for a longer period of time – are two completely different things. Living as a foreigner in Portugal enabled me to learn more about this beautiful country and its amazing people, learn more about Portugal’s education system, working culture and techniques, and, most importantly, it helped me learn about myself a little better.
Ever since the beginning I was greatly welcomed by the Portuguese people and other Erasmus + students. The weather was amazing most of the time, the city was just beautiful, people were very fun, everything is cheap, hence I truly feel I have made a second home here in Porto. Benefits of spending time abroad: I believe that such exchange experiences greatly serve people, both professionally and personally. But, I would specifically emphasize the benefits such an experience had for me personally. During this exchange and my prior one in Denmark, I have met people from all different cultures and backgrounds, I have been able to understand the importance of the cultural differences people might have and the beauty these differences bring in to this world. I learned how important it is to always be open-minded, tolerant and not judge.
And lastly, I have become more independent, since I had to do everything myself. What you like about living abroad: Living in a new country is fun, challenging and it grows you. First of all, everything you see is new and different, and in my case, Portugal was far from everything I’m used to back home. The city I live in has beautiful beaches, great restaurants, very fun bars and cafes, and most importantly, a lot of amazing students from all over the world. I love that for three months, I’m constantly exploring a new part of the world.
Living abroad also means you’re living alone. You get to learn how to cook daily, manage your own money, and take responsibility for yourself and your space. It may sound hard, but it actually gives you a sense of responsibility so I believe this part is also very important. What you miss about home: Being away from your family and friends is never easy. I miss all of them, and there were days when I dreamt about them being here with me in Portugal, so we could experience together everything I’m experiencing. Anyways, three months is not such a long period, and the days on an exchange go really fast! Describe a regular non-work day: On the weekends or any particular day off, I usually gathered with my friends to go have picnics at Duoro River Park (where the sunsets especially are beautiful). When it was really sunny, we would head for the local beaches, or go try some local food. In the evenings, my friends and I along with many other Erasmus + students would gather to these really fun bars. Aside from all the social activities, during this period I have also worked on my Internship Report and BA Thesis.
Cultural or other difficulties in the workplace: I finished my internship at Higher Institute of Accounting and Administration of Porto (ISCAP)’s Research Department. It’s been an amazing experience that grew me professionally and I learned so much from. As per difficulties or challenges, I could only say that the department and field of work was new for me, I didn’t have prior experience hence I had to learn everything from scratch. One thing I’d like to mention cultural wise is that the Portuguese people are very calm and relaxed, very often late and never hurrying. I’m not mentioning it as a bad thing, but rather as a positive lesson for all of us to not stress over things,
since everything finds it way eventually.
What it is like to be a foreigner working in Portugal: I never felt as a foreign intern here – rather just an intern. The staff was very welcoming and understanding, everyone spoke good English, the tasks were delivered on time, and for anything I didn’t understand, the professors were always very open and available to help and direct me. I am very grateful for their help. Lessons learned so far/Tasks: This internship has given me a new set of skills for what I’m truly grateful. I’ve learned how to get involved in Research Project, and assist in their writings, data collection and analyzes, and especially data organization into respective platforms. Besides the above tasks, I have also improved my English Communication skills (both writing and speaking), I have become more organized, focused and attentive to details.
What workplace experiences will be beneficial when you return home? Considering that nowadays the working experience is a very valuable asset for every candidate, especially when it’s international, I truly believe that this experience will serve as a useful reference and will increase my eligibility for future work positions. Describe your day: I would usually start my internship early in the morning, even though the schedule was flexible. I would always have a coffee first thing in ISCAP’s cafeteria, and then I would meet with my mentor professor who I’d discuss with for the daily/weekly tasks. After that, I’d start working on my personal tasks or assist the professors on their projects. Each day was dynamic and interesting, so the hours went fast by.
In the end, I’d truly like to thank IBC-M for its efforts to create as many partnerships with International Schools, so it could provide for its students these life-changing experiences. I’ll be always grateful at IBC-M for giving me some of the best days of my life!