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Meet Ocien – Our Lisbon intern

How has your overall experience living and working in Lisbon been?

Overall, I’d say my experience living and working in Lisbon has been nothing short of an absolute dream! I’m so incredibly thankful I was given this opportunity to widen my cultural knowledge of the Portuguese culture aswell as advance my experience, teaching at LAC with David! I’ve been overwhelmed with the kindness and welcoming nature of the Portuguese people, everywhere you go, you’re greeted with a smile and a “Tudo bien?” The weather has been absolutely lush with sunny skies that’re perfect for the ultimate beach day in Cascais or a lounge at the Torel do Jardim fountain. I’ve shared a flat with two Brits that have also made my experience just that much better, along with the fellow interns that live on the first floor of the building and the other Irish interns with “Capacity”. I must say the food has been one of my favourite parts of these three months - cheap, delicious and hearty, the best kinds of meals!

Share a highlight of your internship so far. It can be absolutely anything!

Please explain and give more details. My highlights of the internship have been my friends coming over and me being able to show them all my favourite spots! Such as Cascais, Belem, Jardim do Rio at sunset and the whole of the Cais do Sodre area! I took my friends to eat at all my favourite places and showed them the famous Bairro Alto where we bar hopped all night long, only to wake up and hop on the earliest train to lounge the day away on the Cascais beach! Another highlight of the internship has been the Pride celebrations. It’s so amazing to see the utter support shown to the LGBTQ+ community

What weekend trip would you recommend to others, and why was it special to you?

I took a weekend trip down to Albufeira in the Algarve to see my boyfriend on a “boys trips”. I ended up enjoying the trip so much more than I thought. The scenery, beaches and architecture were absolutely stunning. The nightlife in the old town was also the most fun I’ve had out since being here! Don’t forget to check out the, “all you can eat” fresh sushi for only €12! I completely took advantage of being close to the sea to eat as much seafood as I could. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do any of the “touristy” stuff there but even just being down in that area was so beautiful. I really enjoyed the scenery of trees on the way back to Lisbon at Sunset! 100% recommend!

How is the experience of immersing in the local culture? Have you made Portuguese friends? What else have you done that is considered Portuguese, and how has that interfered with your personal life?

We were completely immersed in the most fun cultural event that happened during our time there, the Festas dos Santos Populares. Me and my housemate Abi attended the parade aswell as many many street parties in those few days. We danced and (tried) to sing along to the Portuguese music and drank Portuguese cocktails! So grateful we were here during that time! When I think of friends we have met here, one special lady comes to mind, a girl we met in Bairro Alto called Iñes. Ever since we met her she has been so welcoming, inviting us to events, meeting her friends and asking us about our experiences in Portugal which helped us relive the last 3 months! Something Portuguese that I think I have become addicted to is getting a €0.70 espresso and Pasty de Nata almost every morning, with a cheeky cigarette on the side. I have definitely gotten a refound love for coffee since being here!

What advice would you give to future interns before coming to Lisbon?

Try to budget as well as you can with groceries, and shop at stores like Lidl, Aldi and Pingo Doce. This allows you to have extra spending money for a lovely weekend or day trip and delicious Portuguese meals and experiences. Take note that most small cafés only accept cash, so be sure to use the Multibanco ATMs to avoid ridiculous bank charges. The monthly travel card is your best friend!!! If you come in the summer months, be prepared to sweat through all your sun cream! Reapply many times! Lastly, say yes at the moment, as those have been my most memorable experiences here so far!


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