Let’s talk about money.

Oh hello there,

Yes, you have read correctly. I am now going to tell you a bit about how expensive (or inexpensive) the life in Lisbon is. Of course, this is based on a comparison between my home country Austria and Lisbon, because these are the only places I have lived long enough (and not been on vacation), to be able to tell about the amount of expenses.

First of all, my considerably high experience in shopping groceries derives from my regular visits in supermarkets. (That sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it?) Anyway, I have already found quite a high number of products, which are so much cheaper than in Vienna. Here are some of them:

  • 250g of sliced cheese (which tastes by the way really good) for 1€ (no, not 0.99€. It’s exactly 1€.)
  • water: Let’s leave the fact aside, that in Vienna most people drink water from the tap. Here they don’t, because it has a slight taste of chlorine. 5l of Water cost 0.45€. Whaaat? In Austria, the cheapest bottle of water (1.5l) costs about 0.20€ (if I recall correctly, because I don’t buy these very often)
  • noodles: As mentioned in one of my previous posts, 500g of noodles, and I mean ALL KINDS OF NOODLES (including colorful, Farfalle, etc.) cost 0.75€.
  • milk: I have to buy lactose-free milk, which is always more expensive than “normal” milk in Austria. Ha! Not in Lisbon, here it’s 0.95€ per liter, which is at least 10cents cheaper than in the Viennese supermarkets.
  • canteen at the campus: As far as I know, the Nova campus has 2 canteens. You get a meal for 2.5€ (or 3€), including a soup, dessert and a drink. Well, don’t get me even started on the prices at the WU campus. IT’S 5-6€ FOR A MEAL. (sometimes including a drink or a soup) And NO, you gotta buy that dessert separately, which is another 2-4€, depending on weather you want just a single cookie or a huge piece of delicious chocolate cake. (ok, now I want chocolate.)
  • McDonald’s: I am guilty. I have been there. Too many times already. Some things are definitely cheaper. Done. Next.
  • night life: YES, one more cool thing about Lisbon: It has so many opportunities when you want to go out at night. It seems like there are hundreds of different bars and clubs. I have been at a club, where a GIN tonic is about 6€. (capital letters, because the amount of gin in there is way more than I expected.) In Austria you will have to pay around 8€ for a long drink with less alcohol. (I recommend “loco”, a decent bar for having a cheap night out. Jk, don’t go there. And don’t trust the people on the “Jodel” app who tell you otherwise. :D)

 

The end. 😀 (Too lazy to write a concluding paragraph.)

Thank you all for reading my blog. I really appreciate it and I would love to hear from you too. Don’t be shy, just leave a quick comment here. I am looking forward to reading them! (or on my Facebook post, if you don’t have a WordPress account)

Claudia

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WU Vienna vs. Nova SBE (university comparison)

Hello! Great to have you here again.

Sorry for not posting the past few days, but I needed time to get some inspiration and you know… in life, you sometimes have to face the more serious things like university and you don’t have time for anything else.

haha okay, just kidding, I would have had time for my blog, but didn’t have any great ideas to write about. Also, I don’t want to write just for the sake of writing, but to have some good memories about cool stuff.

Speaking of university… you might have already figured out (by reading the title) that this is a text about me comparing my home university (WU Vienna) and the Nova SBE in Lisbon. Of course, I have only had a few classes by now, but I can already tell that there is an obvious difference between the teaching-styles or the general structure of the courses.

okay, here we go:

Nova SBE

  • there are two different types of classes (practical and theoretical ones)
  • for each course, there are about 3 classes a week (1,5h each class)
  • it seems that most of the grades consist of many little tasks (group work, individual assignment, homework, participation, mid-term and final exam)

WU Vienna

  • only one type of class
  • classes mostly once a week (sometimes twice)
  • in many courses, the final exam accounts for either the whole grade or for a great percentage of the grade
  • sometimes the classes are 4 or more hours long

 

Surely, this overview of the Nova SBE is not done thoroughly, since I only attend 3 classes here and the semester has also just started. But, again, I think I am already able to tell that there are big differences in these aspects. I think (for obvious reasons) for the learning outcome it’s better, if the classes are split up into 3 short sessions a week. Furthermore, this is what I have always disliked about the WU’s course structure: The final exam accounting for 100% of the final grad is STUPID! Yeah sure, you can pass a course without attending any classes, without “wasting” your time doing homework or whatever during the semester, but why the hell do you want to study if you want to get it over with as fast as you can? Lazy people are gonna hate me for this, but that’s my opinion. You are crazy (and not in the good way) if you “study” like that. Enjoy it, you are not only studying for your future job.

—> and I am saying this, because I have met so many people at my university who just study, because they study.

okay, enough raging for today, adeus e até logo! 😀

Claudia

p.s. YES, there are palm trees on the campus. 😀

 

Vogue Fashion Night Out – Sept. 2016

Hello Internet-friends!

On September 15th there was this huge “Vogue Fashion Night Out” event on the shopping-streets of Lisbon. Yes, I know.. I am sorry for my friends on Snapchat who were constantly being spammed with all kinds of pictures by my over-excited self. I think my Snapchat story has never been more alive. But I was so excited about everything!!!

But before I try to make you all jealous about how cool this was, I would like you to meet the amazing Yosi! (I swear, that’s how it’s written in her passport.) She has been a great companion since my Lisbon adventure has started. (Hi, Yosi! :D)

We got free tattoos. (Of course, they were real.)

We got free drinks.

We got discounts in all the participating shops.

We had all kinds of different opportunities to make funny photos. We even got some of them printed out!! 😀 😀

We had these cool orange fans given to us. (Look at them legs – photo)

And: For the first time, we discovered how insanely huge the Bairro Alto is. (For the non-Lisbon friends: It’s the nightlife area with looooots of bars, restaurants, etc.) I haven’t seen anything like this before.

In order to make it easier for you to imagine the fun, I present to you my gallery below. (Don’t hesitate clicking on the pictures.)

First impressions of the Portuguese language

Bom dia!

Wednesday was an interesting day, because for the first time I had the pleasure having someone explaining to me what has been the most confusing thing so far: the Portuguese language. And I can tell you, it was amazing and scary at the same time.

So far, I have learned speaking English and also un poco de Español in school, but now I am sure Portuguese will be the biggest challenge. Of course, studying English as a 10 year old seemed like a piece of cake, especially since I have always been very curious and interested in languages generally. Compared to that, Spanish was a bit more difficult. But when I was attending that Portuguese class for the first time, I thought: “How am I ever going to learn to speak properly? The pronunciation is insane!” In one of my first Spanish lesson back in school, the teacher quickly explained to us how to say a few words. – and I am not joking – After that, I was able to read anything in Spanish, even though I couldn’t understand it. In Portuguese I don’t know if I will ever be able to properly say a reasonably amount of words or understand them. My mouth is not able to produce many of the sounds the teacher makes.

Imagine this: The teacher showing you a table depicting all the vowels and different ways how to say them. Believe me, this was one of the most confusing things ever. There are 4 or 5 different ways how to pronounce “a”. wtf? Same with all the other vowels.

I mean, I am totally aware of the fact that there are many other languages, which might be even more difficult to learn or to pronounce, but here I am faced with the fact that I have  to study it in order to communicate with most of the people here. Yeah sure, almost everyone here speaks English perfectly well, but let me remind you of that Portuguese-speaking taxi driver who was not able to understand the easiest words as “house”, “left” or “right”. Who knows where he would have taken me if I didn’t know how to correctly pronounce the metro station near my address. haha 😀

Claudia

 

Weird things in Lisbon

Hello friends!

Those of you, who have read my two-piece text about me dealing with the Portuguese culture (Thanks, I appreciate that.), might have already figured out that I am pretty confused by a few things. But I can tell you, there are plenty of other facts that make me freak out on a daily basis. Here is a list of weird things in Lisbon compared to my home country Austria:

weird/cool things in supermarkets

  • The price for colored noodles is the same as not-colored noodles. (yay)
  • I don’t know how to pronounce that brand, but I love pingo doce. (for my Austrian readers: equivalent to Clever and sBudget, but still cheaper than these)
  • Many product labels are in German.
  • Much more product labels are in Portuguese. (thank you, internet-god for online dictionaries)
  • Every time at the cashier: “amewoiweneoadjads = Do you need an extra bag?” (At least I think that’s what it means.) Me: no. (Hoping that the Spanish word “no” is also “no” in Portuguese.)
  • And my favorite: They sell colorful toilet paper!
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Admittedly, this is pretty cool.

closed metro stations

Now this makes me appreciate the naively trustful underground system in Vienna, where you don’t need to scan your ticket every f* time you enter the metro station. Thanks, Wiener Linien. (Austrian metro operator)

Oh.. and by the way: Great thanks to the Wiener Linien for operating the trains through the whole night during the weekend. 😀 –> Which brings me to the next point, since I have to take a taxi when staying out later than 1am:

taxi driver

A few days ago when I took a taxi home, the driver kept talking to me in Portuguese and after telling him twice that I don’t understand anything he is saying, I just went on replying to him “mmh :)”. I tipped him quite generously, because I guess he was saying nice things. 😀

“first name, last name” instead of “last name, first name”

Imagine someone asking you for your name, because they want to tick it off a list. What would you tell them first? Well, since on the list the last names are in an alphabetical order, I would say my last name first. WRONG! Believe me, this has already happened to me a couple times, when someone was NOT able to find me on a list because the people were listed with their first names first. WHAT? I mean, now that I think about it, it’s not that weird after all, since some people might have much more confusing last names than first names, but it’s just not how it is done in Austria.

This happened to me when I picked up my monthly ticket for the metro. On the form, that I filled out it said: “How do you want your name to be written on the card?” Of course, I write: “last name, first name”. It took the man at the office about 5 minutes (usually it’s done in 15 seconds) to find my ticket. During that time he also made 2 calls to whoever might have it. Same situation when receiving my student ID card, applying for the language course and at the student union’s welcome dinner.

slippery floors – EVERYWHERE

In many parts of Lisbon (at least in the areas where I have been so far.) tiles were being used to build the sidewalks. When you think about it, they put a lot of effort in it to make it look really cute, which is nice. BUT one thing no one thought about back then is that it is going to be a tiny, little problem when you 1) either walk fast/run or 2) you walk down or up the hills (of which Lisbon definitely has more than you can imagine) with shoes that have no grip . By now, I have managed not to fall, but since I know myself very well, falling down in the tough streets of Lisbon will surely happen during my exchange semester. When you plan a trip to Lisbon anytime soon, make sure you bring your hiking boots. 😀

 

Well, you never stop learning. Ok, bye!

Claudia

Why arriving in a new country brings about so much confusion – part 2

2. The monthly ticket

Try buying a monthly ticket for the public transport (no student discount, just a normal one): GO!

Not so fast! You need to fill out this form (which is only provided in Portuguese), bring a photo, your ID/passport and stand in line just like all the other exchange students who desperately need one as well. If you want your ticket to be printed out urgently (=the next day), you will need to pay a 12€ fee, otherwise you have to wait up to 15 days. Oh, and by the way: There is a daily limited number of tickets, so you better hurry up!

To be honest, I was very lucky, because I “accidently” got to the ticket office at 1:00pm, which is 45 minutes before it opens, so there were only about 15 people waiting in line. So when it finally opened, we waited another 30 minutes (because apparently that’s how long it takes for 15 people to hand over the paper and pay). Everything went well, at least for us, because the other 50 people behind us, who spent their whole afternoon there, were not so lucky. 😀

This could have been a disaster, but since I showed up early at the ticket office, it wasn’t too bad after all.

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3. Finding food, shopping, etc…

Being patient is essential in order to survive here. NEVER schedule anything without a gap in between in order to compensate long waiting times. I have already learned this in my “intercultural competences” class back at my home university, but I never expected it to be like this. Don’t get me wrong, on the one hand it is annoying, because I am totally not used to this, but on the other hand it is quite “relaxing” to wait in line much longer than I do in my home country. This might sound a bit awkward to you, but just standing there and doing nothing gives you the opportunity to calm down for a moment and appreciate just being here. Of course, if you are in a hurry, because you are meeting someone or you have an important appointment, you might not find it relaxing at all, but all I can say here is: Silly you, that’s all your fault. Try to remember that next time. 😀 For those of you, who are wondering what might take so long: Honestly, I don’t know. It sometimes seems like the cashiers are not able to multitask. They either chat with the colleagues or they do their job and if they chat a lot (which they do), they don’t spend that much time doing their job. haha 😀

So, like I said in part 1 of this post, do not take everything too seriously. I don’t want to be mean or offend anyone. It is just so interesting and funny to observe these cultural differences, which is why I want to share it with my readers. Again, for now I fully enjoy waiting, due to that surprising calmness it brings along.

Claudia

 

p.s. The picture shows the queue for the language course enrollment.

Why arriving in a new country brings about so much confusion – part 1

My exchange-adventure has started on the 6th of September when I arrived in Lisbon after a 3 hour flight across Europe. The first three to four days were very stressful for me, as I had to run errands, such as trying to finalize the course enrollment at the university, get a monthly ticket for the public transportation system, find shops where I can buy food and other things that I needed in order to survive for the first few days, and so on.

Well, when looking at the tasks mentioned above one might think, that this would not take too much time. Be warned, you might be totally wrong. Here are some examples of how difficult it can be to finally settle down in Lisbon: (This is how it really happened, but: Attenzione! The content below might violate someone personally, so make sure you speak sarcasm fluently. I love this country and the people here, so stay calm and just enjoy reading this.)

  1. The course enrollment

As a person who comes from a very well organized culture and university, where „Atomuhranmeldung“ is a thing, I was at first very pleased by how the enrollments are done in Lisbon. (What is Atomuhranmeldung?: It means, staring at your computer for at least 15 minutes, starting at 1:45pm so still have a chance to log in with your account. Then trying not to miss the enrollment period, which begins at 2:00pm (sometimes at 1:59:59) and ends (not officially) at 2:00:10pm. = 2pm and 10 seconds.) During this 10 second time period, a rush of adrenalin might occur and, if you are lucky, you will end up being enrolled to e.g. 5 out of 7 classes for the whole semester.)

Back to the Portuguese enrollment: „Take your time“ gets a whole new meaning here, because I was able to enroll to and change my courses HOURS after the enrollment has started. This sounds really good, doesn’t it? At first yes, but when I entered the online platform I was only able to choose the name of the courses, but I did not know at what day of the week (or time) they take place. I just went on and thought, I will figure it out sooner or later. Then, I received an email saying, that some courses overlap and I got deregistered from half of the courses that I have selected. WHAT? (This also happened to many other people who I have talked to.) After that, I was finally able to look at the timetable and I had to enroll again. The first and most important question that comes to my mind is: Why can’t I just do that in the first attempt? By the way: Finding this timetable also took me some days, it is somewhere on the bottom of the moodle website.

Summing up, it took me much more time to enroll to the courses than I had expected and to be honest, my courses still overlap with each other so wish me luck tomorrow when the next enrollment period starts!