An American in Lisboa
January 29, 2008 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving from the US to Lisbon in about a week to begin a long-term job. I'm planning to learn Portuguese, but so far I know very little. Any recommendations on good English-language resources (preferably online) for both beginning and living life there?

In particular, I'd like advice on apartment searching (classifieds or bulletin boards), setting up necessities (cable, internet, bank accounts, etc), and Portuguese language classes. But any general advice would be terrific, too.
posted by pjenks to Travel & Transportation around Lisbon, Portugal (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
i taught there for a little while about 10 years ago, and the locals tend to be super helpful, and even more polite when it comes to accepting non-portuguese speakers into conversation. most of the younger folks seem to speak english well, so i didn't have a huge problem.

there was an older gent running a cafe next to the hotel i was staying in. i managed to tell him i was there for a while to teach. he made it his personal mission to teach me a little of the language every morning, and made me count my change back to him in portuguese. it made me feel really welcome. i encountered that sort of behavior everywhere.
posted by patricking at 2:01 PM on January 29, 2008

About internet: Most ISPs (all but one!) have a monthly download limit in the order of 3 or 5 Gb. Oh, how i wish i was joking, i'm even ashamed to remember it. When i lived there, i used the DSL provider Via Networks for they were the only one that didn't have a traffic limit. They also tracked me down after i ended my contract with them to return me money i had paid in excess. I only canceled with them because i moved to another country.

Banks should give you little problem. Portugal has a great banking system, that i only learned to appreciate after i moved. Alas.

The cable provider that is usually available is TVCabo. They also sell internet through the cable, with the darn traffic limits.

I never looked for apartments in Lisbon, so no advice there.

Feel free to email me with questions.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2008

Lovely city, jealous of you (though the traffic can be a pain)
posted by A189Nut at 3:04 PM on January 29, 2008

Thanks a lot CttW and patricking!
posted by pjenks at 6:29 PM on January 29, 2008

I'm pt and living in Lisboa right now. If you need any local help when you arrive drop me a line at the email address on the profile.

I don't know of any sites in english and if you don't speak portuguese it can be hard to browse classified ads with all the real estate jargon and references to zones that are unmapped (because that's how everyone calls them but they aren't the place's real names)... do you know where you want to live? where your workplace will be? how much commuting you're willing to do? I can give you some pointers if you email me these. Meanwhile, try to take a look at this, this and this (TX means an apartment with X bedrooms, Apartamento apartment, and rental is Arrendamento)

Banking will be straightforward. Some of the biggest Portuguese banks are Caixa Geral de DepĆ³sitos, Millenium and BES (russian oriented but thye speak english to!) which all have services for foreigners (including help with housing) as you can see from the links.

Cable provider will depend on where you choose to live but as mentioned before it will probably be TVCabo. As for Internet, other than cable (60Gb monthly traffic limit which I personally have never exceeded but I don't really download that much stuff) you can try the mobile Internet which is popular since there aren't that many free wi-fi cafes and the like around (unlimited traffic btw).

Portuguese language classes are the easiest to find. There are loads of immigrants here and there's a lot to choose from.
From private classes to language schools.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 2:30 AM on January 30, 2008

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