All You Should Know Before You Start Your Internship in Portugal

Your internship contract is signed, your ticket is booked and your suitcase is packed! But, are you really ready for your adventure in Portugal? If you want to score some points with your internship company or gain some insider knowledge on Portugal, we will not leave you out in the rain. Here you will find everything you need for your life in Portugal. So you can find your way around right from the start.

Being situated directly on the Atlantic and its historical development have shaped the country and the people in Portugal. In the course of its history, scarcely any other European country was subjected to so many different rulers. In ancient times it was the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, and later the Arabs ruled for a long time. Portugal did not become independent until the 12th century. Later on, Portugal had many colonies in South America, China, Africa and Arabia due to its pre-eminence in the maritime sector, and thus achieved considerable prosperity. Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus discovered (almost) the whole world from Portugal. With our tips you will discover Portugal without any nasty surprises.

Fado - The Melancholic Side of Portugal

The Portuguese are a joyful people committed to their celebrations. However, the Mediterranean temperament is also reflected in its melancholic side and is expressed in the Fado. The Fado is a typical Portuguese song that describes the wistful side of life. It is about destiny, love and the desire for freedom and independence. In many bars it is sung by the guests, accompanied by a guitar.

Portugal's Traditions

If you want to understand the culture of Portugal in the present, just take a brief detour to the country's history. The Romans have especially had a great influence, and one can see evidence of this today, especially in the language. Portuguese is the Romance language which is closest to the original Latin. The country’s name also comes from Roman influence. One could say that today's port of Porto was the name given to the country, because it was created by the Romans and in Latin means port.

The Portuguese are very traditional. Well over 80% of them are faithful Catholics. The Roman Catholic Church also operates a highly respected university and a popular radio station. Most of the holidays and Saint festivals are also celebrated here.

The Portuguese love to celebrate often, happily and lively.


There are many 'fiestas' in Portugal. They are usually held in celebration of the popular saints, with parades, fireworks, a lot of dance, food and wine.

The most popular festivals take place in the summer months between May and August. Each municipality has its own dates. Here you can experience the Portuguese in party mode. There is so much singing, dancing and laughing. Everything is colorful and loud and the mood is cheerful and jovial. And since the Portuguese reluctantly celebrate alone, everyone is welcomed warmly in their midst. Do not miss out on such a spectacle!

Speaking of celebrations, of course the usual Christian festivals are not left out, especially the Christmas festival. Traditionally, Christmas trees and nativity scenes are on display in homes and the highlight of the holiday is Christmas Eve. Of course a lot of eating is involved in this festival.

Portuguese 'for Beginners'

Portuguese is one of the 10 most widely spoken languages worldwide. Portuguese, like Spanish, Italian and French, is a Romance language, which is why they have some parallels. So, if you speak one of these 3 other languages, you will notice similarities and surely understand many words in Portuguese.

But you speak neither Portuguese nor any other Romance language? No problem! In Portugal you can get along just fine with English. Many Portuguese speak English well, especially in the tourist areas. Nevertheless, they are happy to hear you show respect for them and their culture by adapting to the local life. A few Portuguese phrases help you communicate with others and fit into your new environment. First lesson: Não falo português - I do not speak Portuguese. The Portuguese will thank you for your efforts with a friendly smile.

Eating and Drinking in Portugal

The Portuguese are not only discoverers, they are also connoisseurs! Their ancestors traveled to foreign continents by ship, bringing back knowledge, foods and artifacts that have enriched the culture through trade. These cultural impacts can be seen in Portugal, especially in the architecture of churches or mansions. The culinary offer also reflects the discovery of other continents. The spices and dishes refine the Mediterranean cuisine and give it a touch of the Orient.

"There is no one who does not eat and drink, but only a few who appreciate the taste."

The Portuguese almost love nothing more than to have a good meal together. They enjoy sharing meals with others and are happy to invite the whole family and friends. They do not know 'fast food'. A dinner may in fact be extended from the afternoon into the night. There is a lot of talk and laughter at the table - and of course good food!

If you are open-minded and friendly you will surely benefit from such an experience because the Portuguese have no reservations. They are very caring and hospitable and quickly let others into their hearts. During your internship in Portugal you will quickly become the 'amigo' or the 'amiga' and soon after you will be part of the 'família'.

Everywhere in Portugal you will feel this Mediterranean, cordial flair. The picturesque cafes, restaurants and bars by the sea, along the streets of the cities or high in the mountains, all invite you to enjoy typical Portuguese food. An especially catchy item on the menu is the seafood which is mediterranean-oriental. You should try the 'bacalhau', a salted, dried cod. Meat is also deliciously prepared. You can choose between beef, pork, goat and lamb. Delicacies are dishes like the Black Pig or the 'porco preto'. Potato or bread is the typical side dish. In the traditional cuisine, green vegetables are usually only found in the countless stews and soups, like the 'caldo verde'. In Portugal one needs big appetite, so that dessert can be served. A famous treat are the typical 'pastéis' - a very sweet pastry based on egg yolk, sugar and almonds. A port wine or the Portuguese 'la galão' coffee is usually served with dessert. The Portuguese are as polite as they are hospitable. They are happy to hear your thank you: The men say, 'obrigado', the woman, 'obrigada'.

Of course, you can also cook for yourself. Imagine a peaceful stroll through a traditional market, being inspired by the scents and colors that surround you. Here you will be the explorer and you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, freshly baked bread as well as pickled appetizers. The farmers markets are held weekly and always on the same day of the week.