Lisbon might not have the dimension of other European capitals, but then again, that’s what makes it interesting. The Portuguese capital can match what all other great cities have to offer, but there are a number of things you will only find studying in Lisbon.
Portugal is known for its academic tradition and Lisbon as its capital is no exception. You’ll find a diverse environment throughout the city, which never undermines the country’s tradition and history, making living there very authentic. Each neighborhood is unique, and your whole experience might be different, depending on the neighborhood you choose to live in. Lisbon also has a large student population as it attracts students from all parts of Portugal and of most countries around the world. It is a vibrant town, with several cultural events and a known hipster scene.
The academic spirit is very present throughout the city, especially in September when it is common to see most students that are studying in Lisbon universities dressed in traditional black cloaks, Harry Potter-style. You can witness freshmen initiations in the city centre and public parks during the first week of classes. They usually involve pranks, games and pub-crawls. If by any chance, you hear hundreds of students screaming and chanting until their lungs run out of air, do not be alarmed, it is only the so called praxe.
As everybody studying in Lisbon knows, the beginning of the academic year is by far the most exciting, with immense parties and concerts organized by students associations and universities. The Arraial do Técnico from IST is not to be missed and if you don’t drink too much of those €1 tequila shots, you might not miss it after all.
But regardless of the time of the year, a student’s experience in Lisbon has plenty of potential, particularly if you’re looking for a bohemian lifestyle. It doesn’t matter which day of the week it is, every night, there’s a cool party worth going to (unless it’s exam week and everyone commits to isolation). Especially on Thursdays, known to be the students’ party night. On that particular night, bars in Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré are packed with students until closing hours. By the time nightclubs close everyone runs for pão com chouriço, bread with Portuguese chorizo. It’s a healthy breakfast, which might just ease the pain of the following morning.
Most likely, in the very end, you’ll wish for days to be longer, so that you could do everything you had in mind. So, Lisbon might not as big as London or Paris, but then again who cares? It’s a hell of a city!
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