Are the Portuguese sociable

Moving to Portugal: what you need to know

Are you considering moving to Portugal? Do you long for the country's exciting cities? We can totally understand why! Portugal's popularity has grown a lot in recent years and more and more people are drawn to this country for a new experience.
You have probably seen countless pictures of the yellow tram in Lisbon and have probably heard a lot about the delicious wine from Porto. Perhaps you would like to learn a little more about this small but diverse country before you have the best experience as an au pair in Portugal.
In 2018 I spent six months in Lisbon, one of the most interesting cities I have ever visited and I enjoyed every day of my stay. However, there were a couple of topics that I couldn't find much information about and a couple of things that I would have liked to know before I moved there.

The Portuguese are open and welcoming

The first thing to know is that Portugal is an open and hospitable country that is becoming more and more international: big cities like Lisbon and Porto attract more and more young foreigners every year. In addition, Portugal's capital ranks third on the InterNations list "The Best (& Worst) Cities for Expats in 2020", also due to its great success with digital nomads.
It won't be difficult to make new friends in these dynamic and vibrant cities. In addition, the Portuguese are very sociable and are used in a wide variety of situations, such as For example, when waiting for the bus, shopping for groceries or just walking in the park, try to speak to you. Plus, they are always ready to speak English. From my personal experience I can say that the Portuguese have a very good level of English, so it will not be a problem to communicate with them if your Portuguese is not yet good: Portuguese know very well that their language is one for foreigners at the beginning can be real challenge.

Portugal vs. Spain

As for the language, repeat aloud: "Portugal is not Spain. In Portugal, the people don't speak Spanish!". Some Portuguese may speak it, but it is not their mother tongue. For this reason, while most of them will always try to make yourself comfortable by speaking English, you should never assume that they can speak Spanish.

Spain and Portugal are two very different countries: although they share a common history and their languages ​​are very similar to each other, you should never confuse the two countries! Portugal became an independent state long before Spain, and the Portuguese are proud of their history and culture. Even if the two countries get along perfectly today, one should always avoid saying "gracias" when buying a Pastel de Nata!

Food for all tastes

Speaking of which, the food in Portugal is delicious! Of course, every city has its own specialties, but what they all have in common is that you can basically eat well anywhere. Overlooking the ocean, most Portuguese recipes are based on fish: seafood, sardines and of course the famous bacalhau.

If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, trying some typical dishes could be a bit complicated. However, the number of restaurants offering meat-free or dairy-free options has recently increased in major cities. Also, remember that you shouldn't be afraid to tell your host family about your food preferences.

The weather

You probably already know: Portuguese weather is considered to be one of the best in Europe. It has an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, but what you might not expect is the high humidity. You might be thinking, "Well, since it's by the ocean, that's not really a surprise," but for many expats it definitely is.

I spent a winter in Lisbon and when December came and despite the beautiful sunny days the humidity and cold struck, I was unprepared. The main reason for this is that very often Portuguese houses do not have central heating, which can be very annoying on certain days. So if you plan to spend the winter in Portugal, be sure to bring warm clothes and don't underestimate the humidity!

Portugal has it all!

Being an au pair and living abroad is a great experience in many ways, one of which is the opportunity to travel! While living in Portugal you may want to get to know your host country better and discover all the spectacular places you've heard of.

Portugal is a rich country in terms of beautiful places to visit: Breathtaking landscapes, pristine coastlines, nature reserves and cities steeped in history, Portugal really has it all and will suit everyone's taste.
Since the country is relatively small, traveling is also easy and cheap. If you would like to travel in company, I recommend bus or ride-sharing platforms such as Flixbus and Blablacar.

If you love discovering old cities and monuments, you will surely be happy in Porto and Lisbon: the famous Belém Tower, the amazing bookstore Livraria Lello and the Castle of St. Jorge are wonderful places to visit. If you are an adventurous person who enjoys being in touch with nature, you will be spoiled for choice.
I personally recommend spending part of your stay in the Azores: they are part of Portuguese territory and are in the middle of the Atlantic, and I guarantee the Azores will take your breath away!

And finally, if you enjoy going to the beach, you've found paradise in Portugal! Portugal's beaches are sensational and one of the most popular destinations for surfers from all over the world.
Now that you know what you need to know before moving to Portugal, you can pack your things and look forward to your departure! We wish you a lot of fun!

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