Praia de Odeceixe (Photo by Hannah Schranz)

My semester abroad started in September 2019. With a lot of anticipation and curiosity I set off on a journey to a country unknown to me. I chose Portugal because I have never travelled this country before and wanted to get to know a new culture and language.

Now I am sitting here in front of my laptop and my semester abroad in Portugal is almost over. The time was incredibly beautiful and exciting. I have experienced a lot, seen new places, met great people and gained a lot of experience. But now I want to tell you a little bit more about my time in Setúbal.


The university I visited is called “Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal” and is just seven train minutes away from the centre. The building is small and very simple, you can find your way around very quickly. I was already in contact with the university before my stay in Setúbal. The Erasmus coordinator Ana Dias is very nice and helps you with every problem. I have completed five courses in the field of pedagogy. Most of the seminar groups were Portuguese, which is why the language of instruction was also Portuguese. Despite the language barrier, I was warmly welcomed and supported by everyone. Mostly two or three students knew English and translated everything for me. During the breaks I went with the other students to the cafeteria, which is also located directly in the university. There they had very good and cheap food.


I also had the opportunity to attend a primary school in Setúbal. Three days I got an insight into the Portuguese school system. It was very interesting to see the differences between the Portuguese and Austrian schools. I could take a lot of ideas and inspiration from this short time.


I found my apartment through a student from my university in Austria. She had been in Setúbal one year before and was therefore able to give me the contact details of the landlord. I lived together with two Austrian students from my home university. Our apartment was very big and right in the centre. Everyone had enough space and privacy.


Setúbal is a small town directly on the sea and not far from Lisbon. There are many good restaurants, sweet cafés, a large shopping centre and many supermarkets that are open until late in the evening. There are some beaches nearby and my highlight is definitely Troia. The ferry takes about 20 minutes to the small peninsula, there are beautiful beaches and with a lot of luck you might see some dolphins.

Author: Hannah Schranz.

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