Landed in Lisbon
Hello from Lisboa! I'm very happy to be here in Portugal for my first experience with CIEE and my first time outside of North America. My name is Emma, I'm a 25 year old adventure seeker and outdoor enthusiast. It's so lovely here in Portugal. It's the middle of January and to me it feels like spring! I'm from Rochester, New York and have been living across the front range of Colorado for the past four years. So both areas I'm familiar with have been getting snow and cold temperatures, while I'm enjoying 60 degree weather and sunshine.
To be quite honest, the preparation for this journey took almost 8 months. I originally applied for a Fall program with CIEE back in April of 2017. The October departure session I was hoping for had filled up before I applied, so I was put on a waiting list. I decided to for-go the wait list and submit my application for the following Winter/Spring session in Portugal. I was very pleased to be accepted into the January - March volunteer session with CIEE. To lay it out a with a little more clarity, here is how my pre-departure time line went:
April 2017: Application submitted
June 2017: Application accepted
December 2017: Started CIEE Framework course & received school placement
December 2017: Oneway flight to Lisbon booked
January 2018: Arrived in Portugal & received host family information
Bottom Line - Be patient!! Everything will fall into place, even if it feels last minute. I spent my pre-departure time to conduct research on Portugal as a whole, since I didn't know nor request my placement location. I also started teaching myself the language. I used a few different apps, such as DuoLingo, Babbel, and Memrise. I found Memrise to be the most helpful because it specified European Portuguese, while the other two apps were teaching the Brazilian dialect. I suggest reading travel blogs in addition to this one. Gather as much information as possible.
Preparation helped me feel ready to conquer anything that comes my way while abroad. I hope it does for you as well!
Above: View over Lisbon from the tallest point in the city - Amoreiras 360 View