Living abroad as part of your degree or even for its entirety is a brave, but ultimately excellent decision. You won’t need us to list the benefits of embracing a new culture and moving away for your studies but a smooth transition can be easier said than done.

With luxury student residences across Europe, there isn’t much we don’t know about studying abroad and as such we are committed to bringing you all you need to know about international study. Today we are taking a look at settling into university abroad and in particular one of our favourite destinations, Portugal.

The following tips will help you to not only settle in, but also take full advantage of your exciting time studying in a foreign country.

Familiarise yourself with local amenities

When you study abroad, one of the biggest challenges is getting to grips with a new culture and of course, a brand new town or city. You may well have spent the majority of your life living in the same area and suddenly being plunged into a strange land can take a while to get used to.

The best way to tackle this is to spend a good few weeks before your course starts, familiarising yourself with the local amenities and facilities. There is a strong chance you won’t need to use all of them, but knowing where they are can help you to avoid any mishaps whilst studying abroad.

A good start would be to check out where the following are when moving to Portugal:

  • The Police Station
  • The Hospital
  • The Pharmacy
  • The Train Station
  • The Taxi Rank

Although these things sound obvious, it is important to know where they are at the drop of a hat and some may be more difficult to find than others.

Opening a bank account abroad

A big part of feeling part of your new community is of course opening a new bank account. Aside from the fact that it will save you a fortune in bank charges, opening a new account is a great way of feeling like you are embracing the culture of your new home.

Remember though, that there may be a language barrier here as you chat about the important aspects of your account. Thankfully, your university or college will be able to provide assistance and advice on the best banks and accounts for you to use during your time in the country.

The most popular banks in Portugal are:

  • Caixa Geral de Depositos
  • Banca Santander Totta S.A.
  • Banco Comercial Portugues
  • Banco International do Funchal
  • Banco Popular Portugal
  • Novo Banco

Attend all your university welcome sessions

Once you have got all your administrative tasks done and opened your accounts, the likelihood is that term time is rapidly approaching, use this time wisely. Although your “Fresher’s Week” in Portugal is not likely to be like the ones in the UK, you may well be out enjoying the culture in cities like Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto and the temptation may well be to skip the odd welcome session.  We strongly recommend you resist this urge.

Your universities will have gone to quite a lot of trouble to put these sessions on for international students and they will be giving the very best advice about your new home. There will of course be assistance available throughout term time, but these introductory sessions will be jam packed with all the most important information, all focussed on settling you into Portuguese life. So take advantage!

On a similar note, getting out and about socialising is a great idea as quickly as possible. You will meet like-minded students in the same position as you in no time and chatting to them in lectures and out and about at academic functions will help you to feel settled a lot more quickly. So, if the opportunity arises to attend a social event, then take it as it will help you to make friends a lot more rapidly.

Check out Collegiate’s student accommodation in Portugal

We trust that this guide to settling in when living abroad will help you to make Portugal feel like home in no time at all. If this is a decision you are in the process of making, why not take a look at some of the outstanding student accommodation we have available in Portugal?

We have premium residences across the country and they all have first class facilities, are close to campus and are as secure as you will find anywhere. You can find out more by clicking here or calling our team on +351 213 500 070.