Life in Portugal

In Portugal, family is very important and a lot of time is spent with all the extended members. Wilson from VA, Year Program
I think the biggest adjustment was school. The school day began at 1:30 and ended at 6:30. By then, my whole day was used on school. Kayla from NY, Year Program
Always try and speak Portuguese; never turn down an invitation to go out with your friends, don't sit on the computer the entire time when there are things to be done and stuff to be learned. Anne from MA, Semester Program
When I first arrived in Portugal, I was surprised by the difference between American schools and Portuguese schools. There, school was only about learning, all socializing took place outside of school. Erika from WA, Year Program
Eating lunch and dinner together with the family every day and almost never spending alone time in your room was a big difference. Every day my host parents and siblings would come home for lunch, and every night we all ate dinner together, something that is extremely different from my family in the U.S. Antonio from FL, Semester Program
Don't be afraid to talk to new people. The people in Portugal are the friendliest people I have ever met. Alyssa from CT, Semester Program
The family dynamics were different. My older siblings (24 and 25) would come home every weekend, and often during the week. Erika from WA, Year Program
The general laxness of the culture is something that I wasn't necessarily used to. Their care-free mentality is a great thing, but it applies to almost all aspects of their culture. August from TX, Year Program
Help out around the house, offer to cook every once in a while. Always keep your room tidy, Portuguese moms can be pretty strict about that! Try and talk to everyone in your class, especially at first, even the ones who don't speak English so well. My best Portuguese friends didn't speak any English at all. Antonio from FL. Semester Program
The Portuguese think that any time you're sick, you need to go see the doctor! In Portugal there is universal health care, so the Portuguese tend to go to the doctor a lot because it's cheap, unlike Americans who don't go unless it's necessary because of the cost. Katherine from NM, Semester Program

Digging Deeper

Language Resources
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • April Captains (2000)
  • Voyage to the Beginning of the World (1997)
  • Night Train to Lisbon
  • Time Regained (1999)
  • Memories and Confessions (1993)
  • Labor on the Douro River (1931)
  • According to Pereira (1998)
  • Boy and the World (2013)
  • A Unica Mulher (TV - 2015)
  • Aniki Bobo (1942)
  • Amalia (2008)
  • Lisbon Story (1994)
Books
  • A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe (2006)
  • My Portugal: Recipes and Stories (2014)
  • Alentejo Blue (2006)
  • The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (1996)
  • All the Names (1997)
  • Journey to Portugal: In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture (1981)
  • The High Mountains of Portugal (2016)
  • Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire (2015)
  • Night Train to Lisbon (2013)
  • The Stone Raft (1986)
  • The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon
  • Baltasar and Blimunda (1982)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.