The Complete Guide To Internships in Portugal

Internships In Portugal

The Complete Guide To Internships in Portugal

Ready to step out of your comfort zone, explore a new culture full-on, and push forward in your career by snagging an internship across borders? 

Picture yourself living in a country where history wraps around modern life, bustling industries thrive, and the blend of old customs with new ideas is celebrated every day. Think about spending your next internship among Portugal’s sun-drenched coasts, historical treasures, and lively city centers: it could be just what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re a student, recent graduate, or simply a career seeker looking to enrich your résumé with global flair, the insights and pointers you’ll find in this guide are tailored to make your internship in Portugal a rewarding reality.

8 Benefits of Doing an Internship in Portugal

Still trying to decide between Portugal and other internship abroad destinations? Here are a few reasons why you might want to bump Portugal to the top of your list: 

1. A Gateway to the European Union

Interning in Portugal can serve as a strategic launchpad to a wider European career. 

Given Portugal’s membership in the European Union, internships here can introduce you to the policies, practices, and professional networks that are vital for anyone looking to work in a European context.

2. A Tale of Two Cities and More

Imagine wandering through Lisbon’s vibrant modern streets one day and stepping back in time within Porto’s historic lanes the next. Portugal offers these experiences along with a kaleidoscope of enriching professional experiences waiting to be discovered. 

While Lisbon lights up with fresh energy from tech newcomers and creative minds, Porto leans on its long-standing trade legacy to school us in business and industrial wisdom.

3. A Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Portugal has forged a reputation for being an innovative hub, especially in technology and renewable energy sectors. By interning here, you can tap into this dynamic ecosystem, which includes incubators, accelerators, and a lively community of entrepreneurs.

4. A Language Launch

Portuguese is the language of business in Portugal, but don’t worry if you’re not fluent – many companies operate in English, making communication accessible to anyone. For those looking to add Portuguese to their language repertoire, an internship in Portugal is a fantastic, immersive opportunity.

5. A Cultural Immersion Experience

Operating on the cusp of tradition and modernity, a Portuguese internship offers a unique chance to absorb the rich cultural tapestry of the country. From iconic landmarks like Torre de Belém to centuries-old fado music, the cultural heritage will enrich your personal and professional growth.

6. A Gastronome’s Escape

Portugal is a culinary haven where the local fare reflects the variety and vitality of the country. From the famed pasteis de nata in Lisbon to the bacalhau of Porto, your taste buds are in for a treat, and you’ll likely find yourself engaged in lunchtime conversations more often than not.

7. A Thriving Nightlife

Portugal’s nightlife, particularly in Lisbon, is a colorful blend of trend-setting clubs and traditional tasca bars. This not only promises an exciting social scene but also illustrates the importance of networking in a country where personal connections are highly regarded.

8. A Balanced Life

Portugal is known for its work-life balance, with a stringent focus on the wellbeing and happiness of its workforce. This means that even in a professional environment, you can expect to nurture a holistic approach to life and work.

What to Expect When Interning in Portugal


Here’s what to expect during your internship in Portugal:

1. The Pace of Work

Portuguese work culture is generally a balance between structured corporate environments and a more relaxed, yet efficient, approach. Patience and an open mind are key to adapting to the slightly slower pace that often accompanies a focus on relationship building and consensus-driven decision-making.

2. Integration as an Intern

Unlike some countries, Portugal has a warm and welcoming approach to interns. You’ll likely find your colleagues eager to share knowledge and provide you with opportunities to contribute to projects, treating you as a valuable part of the team from day one.

3. The Role of Relationships

Building personal relationships is integral to Portuguese work culture. Expect to engage in structured networking and leisurely coffee meetings, as these connections often lead to professional opportunities and growth.

4. Professionalism and Respect

With a strong tradition of respecting seniority and hierarchy, especially in business settings, it’s important to maintain a high level of professionalism and deference to more experienced team members and supervisors.

5. Learn the Language – At Least the Basics

While many professional settings operate in English, making an effort to learn and speak basic Portuguese goes a long way in fostering relationships, showing respect for local customs, and assisting in daily life outside the office.

6. Understand Office Hours

The typical Portuguese workday starts at 9 am and ends at 6 pm, with a two-hour lunch break which is often seen as a time for socializing. Punctuality is appreciated, though flexibility is also valued.

7. Leverage Organizational Relationships

Building a support network in your host company and beyond will not only ease your personal transition but also pave the way for future career growth through mentorship and advice.

8. Dress for the Occasion

Portuguese dress codes vary by industry and company, but smart casual is often the norm. For more formal settings, traditional business attire is always appropriate.

6. Participate in Group Activities

Join your colleagues for team events, whether it’s a group lunch or a post-work dinner. This is an excellent way to bond with your coworkers and gain a deeper understanding of Portuguese customs and social norms.

7. Express Gratitude

Saying thank you goes a long way. Whether it’s a colleague’s time, a new opportunity, or simply a lesson learned, expressing your gratitude is a significant part of Portuguese etiquette.

How to Find Summer Internships in Portugal

Interning in Portugal is not just about gaining work experience; it’s about immersing yourself in a rich culture while acquiring skills that will shape your professional path. 

With the right preparation – and a little bit of help from Absolute Internship – your internship in Portugal can be the start of an exciting and fulfilling international career. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to expand your horizons – take the plunge and discover the wonders of interning in Portugal.


Do interns get paid in Portugal?

The compensation for internships in Portugal varies. Some internships offer a stipend to cover living expenses, while others are unpaid. Be sure to clarify the compensation package before accepting an internship offer.

Are there internships in Portugal for foreigners?

Yes, there are many internships in Portugal that are open to international candidates. Companies appreciate the fresh perspectives and diversity that international interns bring to their teams.

Can you get a culinary internship in Portugal?

Culinary internships are available in Portugal, especially in the vibrant restaurant and food industry of cities like Lisbon and Porto. These internships provide hands-on experience in traditional Portuguese cuisine as well as modern culinary practices.

Are there English speaking internships in Portugal?

Many companies offer English-speaking internships, particularly in sectors with a global focus like IT, tourism, and hospitality. However, learning some Portuguese is always beneficial for both your personal and professional life during your time in Portugal.

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