Home Portugal Forum Portugal Guide Portugal Resources Portugal Real Estate International Jobs



City Guides

CIGNA Expat Health Insurance
Join Sign In
CIGNA Expat Health Insurance Portugal

An Expat Talks about Living in Lisbon, Portugal


Lisbon, Portugal

An expat in Lisbon talks about learning Portuguese, the warmth of the Portuguese people and living in Lisbon.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


How long have you lived there?

3 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

In my experience, restaurants and cafes afforded me the opportunity to meet new people, develop friendships, and practice speaking the language. At nearly every turn, I was able to find people willing to speak English with me and to offer useful help in developing the ability to speak Portuguese. For my part, I have not made any attempts to join expat communities. Instead, a little humility and lots of hard work trying to learn the language has opened doors to friends and families in the local community. All this began by trying to frequent the cafes and restaurants that had employees and clients who were willing to communicate.

Expat Health Insurance

Integra Global is a different breed of health plan provider. Smaller, more flexible. Intelligent and personal. Our mission is to make our members feel as safe in their new country abroad as they felt back home. With Integra Global, you're not just another number. Unlike some of the bigger insurers, we are able to provide a fast, flexible and personal service to all our members and our plans are designed specifically for the healthcare needs of expats. Get a quote from Integra Global.

In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

As readers likely know, the long tradition on this end of the Iberian Peninsula of traders, explorers, and mixing cultures means that Portugal is a place of extreme diversity. It should go without saying that one can find pockets of people with more narrow views. The influx of disadvantaged people from the ex-colonies in Africa and to a lesser extent Brazil means that there are those cold shoulders blaming economic hardship on immigrants. However, speaking from the point of view of a US citizen, even the most hard-lined opinions about politics and capitalism were nearly always tempered with a good measure of curiosity about my experience and life before Portugal. A little curiosity and understanding on the part of the newcomer about Portugal can almost guarantee a smile and a bit of friendly conversation.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

The Lisbon area serves a great number of industries. Tourism and service tend to be areas of extreme importance at present. Technological industries and research in science and medicine also play important roles for many. But with the current austerity measure biting deep into the pockets of many Portuguese, potential immigrants to Portugal are well advised to research long and hard from abroad before making a move hear. Unemployment hovering around 17% means that there are plenty of eager local workers hoping to snap up the few job opportunities that exist. In fact, many young people graduating from universities are finding their opportunities outside of Portugal. Having a clear plan and perhaps prearranged employment behooves the would-be expat.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Without a doubt, the vast majority of folks that I have met are first and foremost concerned with quality of life. This begins with family and friends. Sure, the economic crisis is hitting hard in Portugal, so one can expect to hear a lot about the hardships and difficulties being wrought by the austerity measures, but one can also begin to feel right a home with new friends. Conversations can certainly be started by anyone interested in football, and any chance to question locals about the rich cultural history is met with excitement and enthusiasm. Basically, if one opens their hearts and minds to Portugal and the Portuguese people, they can expect to meet warm caring people with a propensity for eating, drinking, and sharing times with friends.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

First, plan on learning the language. One need not speak Portuguese in order to survive here, but in order to truly experience all of the wonderful aspects of the city and her inhabitants, speaking the language or even seriously trying too opens doors, shows real respect, and can help you work your way into the hearts of the Portuguese people. Work is a little hard to find right now, but the quality of life and the warmth of the Portuguese people means that if you have enough to get by, you just might feel richer than living a money driven life.

Read Next

Culture-Shock-in-PenicheAn Expat Talks about Culture Shock & Living in Peniche, Portugal

An expat in Peniche, Portugal talks about moving to Peniche and the culture shock he experienced. He never experienced "shock" as such. However, little things, experienced over months and months, seeped in and made him realized the cultural differences.

Living-in-LisbonAn Expat Discusses Living in Lisbon, Portugal

An expat living in Lisbon offers advice to others moving to Portugal about learning Portuguese, meeting people and enjoying expat life in Lisbon.

10 Tips for Living in Portugal

Expats in Portugal enjoy the Portuguese lifestyle, the beautiful landscapes, and the variety of places to visit and live. Find information about where to live, health care, residency visas and more as you delve into how to live well in Portugal.

5 Great Places to Retire in Western Europe

We asked expats about great places to retire in Western Europe. While many Western European countries have prohibitively high living costs, there are a few areas that fit the retirement bill. These are some of the recommendations!

5 Best Places to Retire in Portugal

Expat retirees love Portugal for its welcoming people, gorgeous beaches, quaint towns and wonderful restaurants. In this article, we cover 5 great places to retire in Portugal.

AGS Worldwide Movers

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.

Comments about this Report

Apr 22, 2013 10:26

Excellent snapshot of life in this part of Portugal, with a well-balanced view of what it takes to make a move here and to make that move work.

Jul 23, 2018 22:56

Anyone able to get health insurance with existing diabetes?

Jul 23, 2018 22:56

Anyone able to get health insurance with existing diabetes?

Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Portugal Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2018 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal