Why Portugal is not for everyone
Greetings, dear readers of DOU! My name is Vadim. After reading many articles in the section on relocation, I never found a person who would write anything about Portugal. We can conclude – this is not the most popular destination for moving. It is understandable, because in the international arena the country is officially in crisis, and even one gets the feeling that this state of affairs suits her. But in fact, being on the very edge of Europe, she continues to attract expats, among whom I was. As a long-liver of this country, I will try to outline the possible causes of this phenomenon, as well as why not everyone is worth moving here.
In 2015, I entered the magistracy program at Rzeszow University of Information Technology and Management, where I had the opportunity to apply for participation in the Erasmus + student exchange program. I could not miss such a chance and after a year of training I decided to try my hand.
The university in which I wanted to spend the next semester had to be chosen just before applying for participation in the program and it was not easy. Partner universities were from Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Slovenia, Latvia, Turkey.
I ended up choosing the University of Porto in Portugal. Firstly, I compared the positions of each of the universities in the global QS ranking, where the University of Porto was a leader both in the world and in Portugal itself. Secondly, I wanted to spend another summer in a warm country, which finally influenced my choice. I passed an internal English exam, had an interview with a psychologist, and a few months later I was informed that I was selected among the fellows. So I ended up in Portugal. For a very long time.
At the university, many interesting projects could be implemented. For example, on one of the subjects, we tried to make a social network for martial arts fans, and on the other, a platform for streaming recording and managing video broadcasts in cooperation with the MOG startup. Subsequently, each team also grew into something like a small startup and presented its projects to the entire university and investors. The rest were ordinary items in English, interesting and not very. Most teachers do not give concessions to exchange students, so I had to study to the fullest.
When the studies at the University of Porto came to an end, I had to go back to Rzeszow. Shortly before that, I registered on the AIESEC website. The members of this organization are students who help other students find a company for internships around the world. I left my resume there and sent applications to different countries for usual positions, like Information Technology Engineer or Network Engineer. Among them was only one internship in Portugal, just in the city of Porto for the position of Information Technology Internship.
I submitted an application, passed two standard interviews on Skype (initial and technical – you can familiarize yourself with the task via the link), and in the end I was offered to take the position of Junior QA, as there was also a set for it. I was bribed that the company itself is creating smart home platforms and monitoring both consumed and produced energy, which seemed very promising to me.
Since this was an internship, the salary was about 645 € net and 115 € on the lunch card. None of this was taxed. According to Numbeо, the average salary in Porto is 833 €, and I would probably agree with that. I will present all the expense items in a separate paragraph below, but, looking ahead, I will say that this alone was enough for me. The main thing for me at that moment was the invaluable experience that I tried to get every day.
The internship lasted one year, and during this time I became very familiar with the smart home market. I had to test various devices (motion sensor, door open sensor, etc.) and their integration into the platform. Our company worked as B2B, and the smart home platform worked as a web application and was customized to the needs of customers.
Another platform was on the desktop and in the application (using our API), where it was possible to see in great detail how much energy your house consumed during a given period or, perhaps, if you installed solar panels, which is not uncommon for residents private houses of Portugal. Now it is actively used by the Portuguese company EDP, which supplies electricity to homes.
The working day officially began at 9:00 and ended at 18:30 with a lunch break from 13:00 to 14:30. Sometimes it was necessary to work additionally, which, of course, was paid by a double hourly rate. Since we had production with 5,000 users, sometimes updates had to be done at night and tested too. It was possible to work remotely, but this, let’s say, was not welcome. Of course, we worked on Agile, but according to some simplified version, as many nuances were simply omitted.