As one of countries starting with letter P listed on Countryaah, Portugal gained independence as early as the 12th century and is thus one of the oldest countries in Europe. Portuguese sailors quickly became pioneers who set out to explore the world, and in the 14th century they were the first modern Europeans to search for new territories beyond the great ocean. They established colonies of trade and settlement in Africa, the Middle East, and even in the then unknown South American regions.
The contemporary Portuguese is internationally oriented, relaxed and friendly, though with a national trait of melancholy, which is evident from the popularity of the traditional sad song called fado. In the rural communities, ancient castles have been converted into inns and hotels, but industrialization in the countryside is often less dynamic than in the big cities. In fact, some farmers are still hauling their crops to the market in beef carts.
- CAPITAL CITY: Lisbon
- LANGUAGE: Portuguese
- CURRENCY: Euro (EUR)
- AREA: 92,212 km2
- POPULATION: 10,427,301 (2014 estimate)
People and community
In Portugal, you will probably live in an urban or suburban area. You should expect to have a fair share of independence and responsibility – for example, cleaning up after yourself and helping with household chores. Portuguese families enjoy traveling together to visit their country house on the weekends or spend time on the beach. Food is a big part of Portuguese life, as are lively and long family conversations.
You will probably have to go to a public school with other students your age, and you can choose to focus on science and technology, socioeconomic sciences, social sciences and humanities, language and literature or visual arts. According to Topschoolsintheusa.com, Portuguese schools are challenging and have long hours, but they are also a great place to meet people, make friends and learn the Portuguese language, history and culture.
The primary language spoken in Portugal is Portuguese. To help you learn the language, AFS will provide a brochure and audio files. The schools usually offer Portuguese-for-foreigners subjects, which take place either in groups or individually.
Food from the sea is very popular in Portugal, but in addition to this one can quite easily contain meat, bread, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables. Pork, lamb, beef, chicken and rabbit are all common forms of eating. You will probably also come across lots of shops with cakes and sweets that you can explore and learn the names of.