Access to higher education is a great privilege and a great opportunity. It’s not just that you will gain qualifications that will set you on the path to your chosen career; it’s a period of transition that will shape your ideas and forge the friendships which you will carry with you for the rest of your life. You may feel that the key decision is ‘what to study?’ but equally important is ‘where to study?’ If you choose to study just down the road from your family home, you really will be missing out on the opportunity to experience ‘the shock of the new’ but if you choose to study in another country, you can combine your learning with all the benefits of a gap year experience. Here are a few reasons why Portugal should be high on your list of considerations.
Portugal is home to some of the oldest universities in the world and some of the newest. The University of Coimbra, a former capital of the country, was established in 1290 and continues to gain awards for ‘Outstanding Student Satisfaction’, whilst the stylishly designed Universidade Nova de Lisboa opened its doors in 1973 and is included in the QS ranking of the world’s top 50 universities under 50 years old. Overall, the university education of Portugal is ranked 35th best in the world by the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings. Portugal is highly regarded by international students from around the globe and welcomes in the region of 50,000 new applicants each year.
Much lower costs
Portugal has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe and this is a significant consideration when you are a student. The average price of rental properties in the famous university town of Coimbra was just 571 euros, as advertised on the Imovirtual property platform in February 2022. Even for international students, tuition fees are considerably lower than many countries and with a student visa and residency permit, international students are permitted to work part time during term time and full time during the holidays.
A beautiful and culturally rich country in which to study
All the reasons that make Portugal one of the top tourist destinations in Europe also make it a great place to study. One of the top attractions has to be the climate, the south of the country enjoys around 300 days of sunshine a year, meaning that you can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle without the need to spend lots of money. Portugal also has 1,000 miles of coastline, so you’ll never be too far from a beach, many of which have been rated as among the best in the world. Portugal also has a tremendous heritage of art and architecture as well as a burgeoning arts scene. The country’s capital, Lisbon, is one of Europe’s most exciting cities and acts as a magnet to entrepreneurs and digital nomads.
Portugal is a small, connected country
The country’s three international airports are linked to 120 European destinations, making travel to and from the country cheap and convenient, and a comprehensive and inexpensive public transport system means that car free travel is not a problem.