Study In Portugal For International Students
Study in Portugal, and find the best universities in Portugal.
Find universities in Portugal and study in Portugal, our guide for international students to study abroad. Portugal is a popular international student destination, with inexpensive but high quality degrees and a laidback, sunny lifestyle.
Portugal has always been at the forefront of education, and actually created its first university in 1290, making it the world’s 9th oldest provider of university education.
Popular with Portuguese speaking natives from Brazil, Mozambique and Angola, this is a country that has pride in its history and culture, but is welcoming to international students.
How can you study a degree in Portugal?
Portugal has a highly developed and well respected university system, with the country particularly popular with international students from former colonies like Brazil and Mozambique.
Higher education in Portugal is typically divided into two bodies:
- Universities – Teaching based on academic subjects, theory and research. Expect to study subjects such as medicine, law, economics and sciences.
- Polytechnics – Institutions aimed at providing vocational training that lead to a particular profession. Expect to study subjects like nursing, teaching and accounting.
Despite its small size, Portugal is still home to 16 public universities. Seven of them are in capital Lisbon, which is the hub of Portuguese education.
Most degrees in Portugal will be taught in Portuguese, so having good language skills is vital if you want to study a degree in Portugal.
Public universities in Portugal are free to set whatever tuition fees they deem fit, although the government does provide guidance on the minimum amount, which is defined as 1.3 times the national minimum wage.
In general tuition fees range from €950 – €1,250 per academic year.
Immigration and visas
EU students are free to come and study a degree in Portugal without needing a visa under the terms of the EU. Non-EU students will normally need to get a student visa before travelling.
As a guide, all students will have to demonstrate the following regardless of nationality:
- You have a confirmed place on a course at a recognised education institution
- You are studying for more than three month
- You have paid all relevant visa fees
- You have sufficient funds to support yourself
- You have comprehensive health insurance cover
Accommodation and living costs
Rents in Portugal are amongst some of the lowest in Europe, meaning living in your own private accommodation is affordable, if difficult to arrange from outside the country. However, most universities will provide international students with somewhere to live on arrival, whether in private flats or dedicated student halls.
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As a guide, a private rental in Portugal will cost around €400 a month – although you may pay more in bigger cities like Lisbon and Porto.
How safe is Portugal?
Portugal has a laidback reputation and student safety isn’t something to be worried about. Large cities like Lisbon and Porto have their fair share of crime, but take the normal precautions you would in any city and you’ll be fine.
Despite this, students should always take precautions to make sure they stay safe. They should take care to:
- Avoid walking alone at night
- Always carry a charged phone
- Avoid potentially quiet/ dark shortcuts
- Avoid carrying a lot of cash
- Let friends know where they are going
- Always keep a close eye on personal belongings whilst out
- Never accept things from strangers – whether this is a lift home or a drink
Staying in touch
Staying in touch when your child is studying on the other side of the world might seem daunting – but there are ways you can talk regularly that don’t have to involve long distance phone calls and a nasty bill at the end of the month. Here are a few tips:
- Skype – the free video calling service can be downloaded within seconds, and will allow you to talk face to face anywhere you have an internet connection
- Blogging – maybe encourage your child to keep a blog of their adventures overseas, so that other families members (such as grandparents) can keep up to date
- Local sim cards – it is also a good idea for your child to buy a phone with a local pay as you go sim card when they arrive so that they can text and call home without running up a bill
What to do next
If you really want to study abroad but are not sure about where, check out country guides. Otherwise if you would like more information about studying in Portugal, sign up for Free Application Service and we’ll get in touch with you shortly.