There was a time when Portugal received a lot of bad press, known as the “poor relative” of the Mediterranean - and to be honest, its history has been dotted with all sorts of challenges. However, the Western tip of the Mediterranean today boasts a whole host of favourable activities as well as generally good weather and that makes it a great option for your next Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme mobility, so let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
Onwards and Upwards
Portugal’s economy is more vibrant than ever before. Despite the 2020 pandemic bringing the economy down by 8.4%, the recovery of this year has seen the economy expand once again by 4.5% and predictions suggest that it will expand by a further 5.4% in 2022 (Fitchratings, 2021). These impressive numbers for project managers translate into countless opportunities for visiting educational institutions, enterprises, research centres and small businesses looking to further their knowledge and training.
There has been a concerted Portuguese government policy to invest in digital technology, making Portugal the Mediterranean hub of start-ups. Specifically, the country has witnessed a recent boom in new-wave industries such as artificial intelligence, data science and super-computing. Soon, Portugal will be on equal footing with some of the leading start-up nations of the world! This makes Portugal an attractive prospect for schools interested in pursuing training in digital education, computer engineering and entrepreneurship. So, if you’re into technology, this destination is the perfect place for your Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme experience.
Since 2015, Portugal has made great efforts to reduce its carbon footprint with its investment in solar and wind farms. This has seen the electricity industry increasing its consumption of renewable sources, with the latest statistics standing at around 65%. This in turn is not only environmentally friendly, but also kind to the customer, as Portuguese families are enjoying drastically reduced electricity prices. Therefore, across this Erasmus+ and Turing Scheme country you’ll notice thriving and dynamic eco-friendly businesses bursting with knowledge for teachers and students to explore.
A journey from the North to the South of Portugal reveals a whole host of cultural experiences to enjoy in between your Erasmus+ and Turing Scheme project objectives. No matter how small or large the place you’re staying is, every corner of the country is bustling with things to do!
Faro is a slightly quieter option; however geography lovers will revel in its glorious beaches, dramatic cliff ranges and many sight-seeing opportunities with a backdrop of breath-taking views.
Lisbon remains immensely popular with its countless monuments and activities common to every bustling capital. Not far from Lisbon is the fairy-tale-like castle town of Sintra bursting with colour and makes an excellent day trip away from the lecture theatre!
Let’s not forget Porto, the wine-making hub of the country with its picturesque riverbanks and medieval accents. Wherever you are based, you’ll find that you are not too far from nature hikes, stunning beaches, or riverside relaxation so it offers great versatility for planning any trip. It’s definitely a destination that will touch the hearts and minds of everyone in your group.
Portugal is also doing extremely well in the face of the pandemic with an impressive vaccination rate. As of the 11th of November 2021, 91.5% of adults in Portugal have been fully vaccinated compared to the EU average of 75.6%. This is the result of its highly conscientious and hard-working population that places tourism high up in their economic priorities. What this means for schools is that they can turn to Portugal with a warm welcome, knowing that COVID-related risks are diminished, to a large extent ;).
This is a country with enviable culture that is ready to welcome you with open arms! The Portuguese are famed the world over for their incredibly friendly and tolerant society when it comes to matters of race, gender, sexual preference and faith. This also makes Portugal one of the safest places to visit in the Mediterranean with relatively low crime rates. The locals do like to venture out late until the early hours of the morning, so you’ll never feel vulnerable when travelling late at night. If you are a parent and concerned about the safety of your child in Portugal or any other Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme destination, do check our guide here.
Variety is the Spice of Life
An Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme mobility in Portugal also means taking advantage of an amazingly diverse economy with countless sectors to choose from. Aside from its dynamic fashion and textiles industry, there is a particular focus on chemicals, glassware, and auto-parts manufacturing. Its long stretch of coastline has maintained an active shipping construction sector as well as production related to building materials. The country is also blessed with both a high level of rainfall and good amounts of sunshine each year, which means that the agricultural sector is equally advanced.
Unique to the destination is also the fact that around 90% of all farms are family-run, meaning that learning programmes in farming ensure a hands-on and holistic experience. Finally, with around 70% of the country employed in some form of services, it’s a fantastic option for exploring experiences in the tourism industry.
Portugal really has wonderful people – every time I visit, I am blown away by the warmth and hospitality of hosts that are sincere and eager to help. They are a very talented bunch as studies have revealed that they are fluent in different languages but also comfortable working in international environments. In particular, they have the highest amount of English speakers in any southern European country. The possibilities for an Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme mobility are endless, especially as TravelEdventures has built a network of contacts and associates up and down Portugal that open their doors at the click of a button. This a country that is open and ready to embrace other cultures and so, what better atmosphere for a future mobility? For a little more motivation on booking those flights to Portugal, read our article How an Internship Shapes Your Future Career it’s sure to help.