Surfing in Peniche

"That’s the right thing! - An internship as a surf instructor in Portugal. Besides learning about the portuguese culture, I would make new friends as well as working on the beach." Niklas did an internship in Portugal as surf instructor.

A levels, what next?

One week before I finished my school career, I was asking myself this question. It was clear to me, that I wanted to go abroad combined with some interesting work. As I found the internship position from “Studentsgoabroad” on the internet, I knew exactly: That’s the right thing! - An internship as a surf instructor in Portugal. Besides learning about the Portuguese culture, I would make new friends as well as working on the beach. Thanks to Studentsgoabroad, the application process passed very quickly. Then within only a short period of time, I got an acceptance from the surf- and diving school, I was applying for. The only thing I had to care about was the flight to Portugal.

Peniche, the school and the colleagues

Then at the beginning of July, my dream came true, Portugal, or rather Peniche, will be my new home for two months. Peniche is a fishing village on the west coast of Portugal, above Lisbon. As it is situated nearby several beach coasts and the sea, there are many days of wind and fog. Nevertheless, it was also often sunny in Peniche with an average degree of 25.

The surf- and diving school, where I did my internship, is located almost directly by the beach. The diving school was founded ten years ago. Then it was enlarged to a surf- and diving school. For someone, who loves going surfing and diving, it is the right place to be. All the interns and employees work together closely and there was no lack of jokes and humour while working. We often watched soccer together, had barbecues in school or went surfing while seeing the sundown, so we get to know each other better. Going for dinner in portuguese restaurants or local bars was also a good possibility in the evening after a day at work. If you are here as an intern, you live in a shared apartment, nearby the school. The flatmates come from many countries, like Portugal, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and so on. The apartment is on the top floor, with five small rooms, a small bathroom and a kitchen.

A normal working day...

You work six days a week, starting at 8am in the morning. The first thing in the morning is to load up diving bottles onto the car, which will be carried to the harbour. Afterwards we have a break of half an hour, to eat something or to pack the things for the upcoming day. At 9am, we carried the surfing guests from their accommodation in Peniche to the surf school - so you should have a driving licence as an intern. Afterwards the wetsuits are assigned to the customers, the surfboards are carried on the car and we drive to the beach.

Arrived on the beach, we teach them some surf theory dependent on their skills. Then the warm-up started and it is time to catch the waves. The interns assist the guests, give them suggestions for improvement and motivate them. After two hours at the beach, we go back to the surf school and drive the surf guests back to their accommodation, the surfboards and wetsuits are put back to the school.

After one hour of lunch break, the whole process as in the morning starts again. When we come back from the beach in the afternoon, also the divers returned from their day trip. Then we help them with washing and drying their equipment. Cleaning the bathroom and the cars are the last tasks before work finish between 6 pm and 7 pm.

Every day, you get to know new people and make friends very easily. Moreover you should really enjoy working at the beach. When teaching smaller groups and advanced surfers, you also have the possibility to surf on your own.

Leisure activities

  • Surfing on many beaches in Peniche
  • Diving (Island Berlengas)
  • Visiting nearby cities like Caldas or Obidos
  • Playing golf
  • Enjoying traditional portuguese food in restaurants, bars or bakery
  • Visiting the lighthouse on the westernmost point of Peniche
  • Explore the archipelago Berlengas
  • Sportive activities as basketball, tennis or jogging on the beach
  • Day trip to Lisboa
  • Enjoying the nightlife in Baleal
  • Small waterpark, only 500m away from surfing school
  • Beach Day
  • Watching the sundown in Baleal
  • Festivals and events in summer, which you should not miss

Hint: You only have one day per week off, so it is better to work through two weeks and then take two days off the next week.

My conclusion

As my time in Peniche was over at the end of August and I went back to Germany, I noticed that thesetwo months passed by very fast. Nevertheless, I have just learnt so much, improved my surfing skills, enjoyed nearly every day at the beach and got to know the portuguese culture. The working day with all the interns was fun and giving surf lessons to people from all over the world was always diversified. In the end, I am happy that I did the internship in summer. I can just recommend this internship to everybody, who wants to spend time abroad, combined with sports and doing a job, which is much fun. In that case: Obrigado Peniche, vamos ver outra vez (Thanks to Peniche, we will meet again).