As mentioned in my post last week I am in Lisbon, Portugal. So exciting. And of cause I want you to be part of this trip and see what I experience. That’s why today I have a new travel diary entry for you. From Portugal.
Are you ready for new adventures? Awesome, let’s get started.
Before I’m going to tell you how my first couple weeks here were and what I experienced I want to give you some details on this trip.
Details about my Portugal Trip:
The reason I’m here is because I do an exchange semester, so this “trip” is going to be different as I’m not traveling much but staying in Lisbon the whole time and maybe doing some day trips every once in a while.
Also, that means that I have limited time to explore, or maybe not as I’m going to be here for a while.
Anyway, I decided to write an update to my travel diary every second week as I did it in France. This way I think I have more relevant content for you and you won’t get bored from my daily life stuff.
The duration of this trip is still a little unclear but the semester ends mid of December so I will probably head back home around that time.
In addition, besides some visits of friends and family I haven’t really planned any trips or stuff yet, but I’m sure I will come up with stuff and really use the time to explore and get to know the city and its surroundings.
Lastly, I will not get too much into detail about my stay here with Erasmus and the studying part as I will write some extra posts on that after my time here.
Okay, I think we’ve covered all important stuff and can get into my experiences.
So, I arrived here last week on the 9th of September after a 10h drive from France.
I moved into a shared flat near Costa da Caparica. I chose this area because it is closest to the beach even though it’s quite far away from my University which is on the other side of the river.
Culture shock experience
In general, the first week for me was quite hard. I’ve got the impression the longer I travel the harder the culture shock hits me and I didn’t feel comfortable in the beginning.
I felt alone after I was used to having so many friends around me in France and now knowing no one. In addition, there were new things coming up every day of which I had to take care off and that I didn’t expect. I really realized that this is not like usual traveling, it is studying abroad and there’s way more stuff you have to sort out. And it seems to have no end.
Besides feeling alone and stressed out by the things that needed to be organized I also felt overwhelmed and lost because there was so much to see and do and I didn’t know where to start.
I’m definitely no city child and it was hard for me to get used to the busyness in this city and it took some time for me to enjoy everything.
However, by the end of this week I managed to settle and arrive mentally as well. It helped to have the Erasmus organization which hosted many events for us students to get to know each other and the city. Also, my coordinator at university was very helpful and the buddies too nice.
First university impressions
This first week was dedicated to welcoming everyone and getting everyone started with the schedule and stuff.
So, on Tuesday last week I had my meeting with my coordinator and got my schedule. It’s quite chilled and I don’t have many classes. Just like I want it. Enough time to enjoy Lisbon.
I also took a tour through the university and I must admit, it is beautiful. The campus is huge and we have everything from swimming pool over gym to soccer fields, water rafting facilities and golf. You can literally practice any sports there and for us as students all facilities are free. It’s awesome. I could definitely study here longer than only one semester.
On Saturday then there was a walking tour through Lisbon, hosted by our Erasmus buddies. Until then I used the time to get to know the area I live, visited the beach in Caparica and went for a few surfs.
That’s the best on everything I think. I can surf every day. So, far waves are small but probably a good thing to get used to the spot.
The little suburb I live in is also very cute, a small fishing area with lots of boats and little houses. Everything in Lisbon is tiny and cute though.
I also met some lovely people. My flatmates are very nice a Spanish guy and a German girl.
The walking tour on Saturday was pretty good to get to know some fellow students as well and what a surprise, half of them are German.
Lisbon itself is beautiful. Small streets with lots of old houses and tiny restaurants. It is pretty hilly and I’ve never walked so many stairs. If you live here you really don’t need to work out. However as good as the tour was to get to know everything a little bit, I have to come back here a few more times to really enjoy everything and soak it in.
To sum it up
In general, this first weeks went by so quickly and I hardly had time to reflect on anything that happened. I got the impression time flies and I’m not in control of it anymore. It goes by way to fast. Can anyone press the pause button for a sec please!
I hope though the more I get used to Lisbon the slower time will go by and I will start having time to enjoy the moment more and soak it all in.
First time university
Monday then classes started. So many new things happening every day, I really don’t know where to start telling you. Well, classes started. I only have afternoon classes Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Pretty chilled.
Classes here work in rotations and you have to pick different ones every month. So, this month I have Badminton and Natureza, which is a mix between orientation and hiking. Both is exhausting but so much fun! It’s so nice to finally do some sports in university as I don’t have that at home.
Besides classes I needed to sort more stuff out and there are still some things like transport and the cheapest supermarket and stuff I need to figure out. Though time will help and I’m sure after a few weeks I’ll feel at home here.
I think the reason why it takes me so long to get adjusted this time is first because the city isn’t that small and connections with public service as well as car aren’t really good and these are some very different circumstances under which I came here. Before taking this semester abroad I thought I’d handle it easily as I’m used to travel though now I’m wiser, traveling and doing a semester abroad have hardly anything in common and this really is a new challenge for me. But I’m happy to take it and I’m sure I’ll master it perfectly.
I also went surfing a lot this week as there was a bigger swell arriving. The first few days though it was rather unsuccessful as my timing was so off. Also, a thing I need to figure out. When does which spot work the best.
You see the list of things to do just adds up, haha.
Lastly, I still struggle to find a job, also because I don’t really know how to approach this the best way. However, with that as well I’m sure I’ll figure it out.
What I learned
What I learned those couple weeks is that sometimes things take more time than you’ve expected them to take or what them to take and that you have to live with that. I learned to accept to take things slow, one step at a time and stop rushing.
Also, this was the best reminder for me to live in the moment and being present because there’s so much happening every day, I can’t really focus on anything. So, the only way I won’t get overwhelmed is to not think too much and rather enjoy the present and see what happens then.
I’m also sure I forgot many moments to share with you as I can’t remember all of them right now. But I’m sure they will come back to me once I found time to calm down and reflect on what happened.
If you’ve ever been in such a situation where so much happened you just couldn’t keep up with the pace, let me know how you dealt with it. I’m always thankful for some inspiration.
Though, no matter if I forgot some small things I think I mentioned the most important ones and you’ve now got an impression of my first two weeks here.
Tonight, there’ll be a dinner party from Erasmus and I’m quite excited to meet even more people. I’m going to tell you about that one in two weeks though. And I hope by then things are clearer and I stopped feeling overwhelmed by the number of things happening around me.
That said, I think I need some time to relax now. My brain is smoking already, lol.
Also, if you haven’t enough yet, check out some of these posts. Maybe you’ll find some new inspiration or motivation:
Lastly, feel free to share the post if you liked it and I hope you have an awesome weekend.