For anyone who would like to have an amazing ERASMUS semester, surrounded by beaches and beautiful landscapes, I would highly recommend Setúbal, Portugal.
If you have already selected Setúbal as your destination, contact Ana Diaz, the Erasmus coordinator of the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal. Ana is extremely helpful and will help you with any questions or problems you may have.
It is also advisable to search for accommodation in the city center. There are student dorms close to the university, however, it is better to live central as there is more going on with regards to nightlife, shopping, and the beach. The train to the university is also cheap and only takes 7 minutes.
If you get the opportunity, you should take part in the integration week at the beginning of your semester. This week involves multiple activities arranged through the university and it is a chance to make the first contact with other exchange students from all over the world. In addition to this, you will be introduced to some of the local cultural gems, both in and around Setúbal.
In terms of getting around, the AAPS offers a bike rental service for 10 € (and 25 € deposit) throughout the entire semester. However, if you would like to take this option, you must ensure that you visit AAPS as soon as possible as there is limited availability. Having the bike will enable you to take advantage of the stunning nature of Setubal- it is also possible to take the bike on the ferry across to the nearby peninsula Tróia where you will find multiple bike routes to explore.
If you want to have lunch at the university I would recommend the canteen ‘Escola Superior de Tecnologia’. For just 2,60 € you get soup, a main meal, juice or water, a roll and a dessert which is definitely worth the money.
My last, but definitely not least piece of advice, is to travel a lot. Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it is worth exploring as much as possible.
The Algarve is a well-known holiday destination which is definitely worth visiting. There are many beautiful beaches and cities and the landscape is truly breath-taking. I personally prefer the North of Portugal as there is less tourism- you are more likely to meet local people and there is also a lot to explore. The national park, Peneda-Gerés, was one of my favorite places; there you can visit amazing waterfalls and take a bath in natural hot springs.
My overall favorite trip was to São Miguel in the Azores, one of the 9 volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. São Miguel is the most beautiful and colorful place I have ever seen, there you can walk for many kilometers and discover crater lakes, impressive waterfalls, boiling hot springs and untouched nature. In addition
to that, the local people are extremely helpful and open-minded. Although the public transport is a little unorganized, in some cases it is possible to hitchhike, as many of the locals are happy to offer a lift. Also, the round-trip flight from Lisbon to Ponte Delgada was under 60€, therefore it really is a must-go.
Setúbal offers so many possibilities and is such a great place to live- I can´t image a better place to do a semester abroad!
(Das Foto wurde von mir aufgenommen und ich stelle es zur Verfügung weiterverwendet zu werden)