Andrea is one of our Essex students who studied abroad in Portugal in 2021/22. We asked her about her time abroad and why she choose to study there…

1. Why did you choose to go to Portugal?

The truth is that I was meant to be traveling to Brazil for my year abroad but due to the circumstances surrounding Covid-19 and the restrictions, it wasn’t possible. However, even if it wasn’t what I wanted, it ended being one of the best experiences of my university journey. I got to meet amazing people and got to know more of Portugal. At the end, I was lucky to even be going abroad due to the circumstances!

2. What are the differences between Portuguese university and Essex?

I think the differences between Essex and Coimbra, were the traditions and how keen are students to participate in them. In Coimbra, they have different traditions that have been going on at the university for years. They are all surrounding the initiation of students in their university life and it looked equally as interesting as funny and bizarre!

3. What were the best moments from your time in Portugal?

For me the best part was making more friends that I know I will keep for life. The people I got to connect with and travel with after, made my experience in Portugal one to remember for life.

group of students in front of building in Portugal

4. What was your favourite local meal?

I would say my favourite food in Portugal had to be the pastries. From ham and cheese croissants to the delicious Pasteis de Nata, all was delicious.

5. Did you feel different after your year abroad?

I did. I felt more confident and independent. Getting to live in a different country and experience a different culture was absolutely life changing. I got to develop my Portuguese and other skills. I pushed myself to do other subjects I hadn’t done before and that also gave me some guidance as to where I would take my career.

6. What would your advice be to anyone considering studying in another country?

Do it! Don’t say no because you’re scared or think it’ll be a waste of time and money. It’s the best experience you will have and it will help you grow professionally and personally. There’s no other experience like it.

Inspired by Andrea's story? Find out more about Study Abroad opportunities.