Year — Fall 2019
Application deadline: December 5, 2018
Semester — Spring 2019
Application deadline: July 25, 2018
Live with a host family in sunny Portugal for a year or semester while attending a local high school and learning all about this fascinating culture. The Portuguese are very friendly and welcoming of foreigners, and it shouldn’t be long before you feel like you’re a part of the community. By going to a local school you’ll have the opportunity to learn the language and make lots of new friends. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
Food is a big part of Portuguese life and most food is purchased fresh daily at local markets. Meals in Portugal involve lots of animated conversations and can last a long time. Be on the look-out for people pinching their earlobes during dinner...it means they’re enjoying their meal! You also may find that the Portuguese sense of punctuality is a bit more causal than you’re used to. If you speak some Spanish, you’ll probably be able to pick up Portuguese. Although they sound totally different, written they’re actually quite similar.
Your program will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the U.S. You’ll learn some basic information that you’ll need for your first few days in Portugal and then you’ll be off! You’ll travel together to Lisbon, where AFS Staff or Volunteers will meet you at the airport.
On the way to your host community, you’ll get to experience some of the beautiful Portuguese landscape. You might see ancient cathedrals and castles, rugged mountains, gorgeous beaches, serene forests, and picturesque farmlands. Everywhere you go you’ll see open air markets selling fresh produce and seafood. You might even get a chance to see one of the many Portuguese folk festivals or a concert of traditional Portuguese Fado music, which is similar to the blues in the United States.
AFS students have lived in communities throughout Portugal, but you’re most likely to be in an urban or suburban area. Most Portuguese families are relatively small, with one or two children. It’s rare for people to live with their grandparents but many live close to their extended family. Kids in Portuguese families are generally asked to clean up after themselves and help out with the household chores, and you can expect to be treated just the same. Portuguese families enjoy traveling together when they can and some have a country house where they go on the weekends. When it’s warm out, most Portuguese people go to the beach as much as possible so if you like the beach, you’re in luck!See where past AFSers have lived
You can expect to spend most of your down-time hanging out at cafes, going to the movies, going out to dance clubs, or just relaxing at home and watching a soccer game on TV. While soccer is by far the most popular sport in Portugal, lots of people also like to go surfing, and play field hockey or basketball. You might also get a chance to experience some of Portugal’s numerous celebrations, fairs, and festivals. Every region, even the smallest village, keeps its particular traditions alive through colorful decorations, food, dancing, and music.
Seafood is very popular in Portugal and you’ll find that the Portuguese have hundreds of ways to prepare fish, from charcoal-grilled sardines to salt cod. Other staples include meat, bread, cheese, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Pork, lamb, beef, chicken, and rabbit are all common sources of meat. Sweets are also very popular and you’ll find lots of pastry shops.
Being a high school student in Portugal will give you a unique opportunity to learn the language and share your culture with your friends. You’ll attend a public high school with other students your age, and will be on one of the following tracks based on your interest and previous classes: science and technology, social-economic sciences, social and human sciences, languages and literature, or visual arts.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.