Your Erasmus exchange is fast approaching, you still have no idea where you’re going to live and you’re getting worried. Well, thankfully, we’re here to help you and after you read this article you’ll be ready to go out and find somewhere to live for your Erasmus year in Portugal.
Ideally, you want to sort out your housing situation before you get there. There are several ways to live as a student in Portugal, each with their own ups and downs. Consider your options carefully and decide on the best one for you. These are the most common ones:
- Host families: You can choose to live with a family that will take you into their house and treat you like another relative. This is probably the best way if your priority is learning the language because you’ll be surrounded by people who may not speak English too well. Staying with host families can also help students feel less homesick get to know the local culture and the Portuguese way of living. If you’re really lucky, you might even be taught to cook traditional Portuguese dishes with your host mother’s recipes!
- Dorm housing: A very different way of living in Portugal is to go to halls of residence or student housing on campus. This is a good way to meet other students your age with similar interests, live affordably, stay close to the college where you’ll be studying and save money on commuting every day. This type of accommodation can most likely be organised through the university itself.
- Roommates: Possibly the most popular way to live abroad is to have roommates to share a flat or house with. Rents are more affordable because they’re split between a number of people, and you’ll also get to socialize and meet new people, an extremely important factor when living alone in a new country. If you can find a flat with local, or at least Portuguese students, rather than other Erasmus students, you will also be improving your Portuguese language skills!
- Apartments/flats: If you’re that kind of person who prefers their own space and isn’t put off by more expensive rental prices, renting an apartment just for yourself might be just the ticket. Remember, though, that it isn’t always easy to get your own place and you should be willing to pay a estate agency fees, a deposit on the rent, and the monthly rent for the flat itself all by yourself.
How can you find somewhere to live in Portugal?
The moment you get confirmation of the school or university where you will be studying during your Erasmus exchange, you should start looking for a place to live. Ask other people who have done a year abroad in the same place for suggestions on the internet and use local Portuguese real estate websites like idealista.pt when looking for the right place.
Follow these steps and you’re sure to find the perfect place for you online before you even set foot in Portugal. What comes next? Well, the landlord will probably ask you for a deposit, but be careful. Visit the property or ask a friend to do it for you before you hand over any money. Avoid scams and getting ripped off by getting an idea of typical flats in the area. If the house looks a bit too good for what they’re asking in comparison with other things you see, it might be fake.
Don’t rush into it – if you can’t find anywhere to live before you go, stay in a hotel or a short-term let when you get there and use that as a base to go house hunting. Staying in a cheap hostel might just save you from making a snap decision on where to live that could end up becoming a nightmare in the long run. Once you have found your place, make sure you know all about rental policies in Portugal and what mistakes to avoid. Now you’re ready to start looking for your Portuguese home and make the most of your Erasmus exchange in Portugal!