What is Portugal like?

Portugal is a country in the south western part of Europe with a population of nearly 11 million people. 10% of them live in the largest cities. It’s a beautiful country with lots of different landscapes. In the north there are more mountains and the south is mostly known for the beaches in the Algarve. Through the middle of the country flows the river Tejo. In the 12th century Portugal was an independent kingdom but in the 20th centrury it has been a dictatorship for democratic revolution took place. After that Portugal became the Republic Portugal.
Around 84,5% of the population is Catholic, only 2,2% is protestant and the rest have different religions or worldviews. Because the Reformation never took place in Portugal the protestant Christians are still a big minority. Churches are usually not bigger than 50 people.
Portuguese people have rich traditions. Think about 
Bacalhau (Codfish), Pastéis de Nata (a delicious pastry) and the melancholic Fado music. The student culture is also really traditional. The Praxes (student groups divided by subject of study) dress up in black capes and especially in Coimbra seem to take over the city.

What is the present state of the work?

GBU Portugal has 5 stafworkers for the national student work at the moment. A couple from the Netherlands work in Coimbra to pioneer in setting up the International Student work and 4 others are part of the staff in doing management or office work. Student groups are the biggest in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra. The smaller cities also have small groups to strengthen and share their faith.
International student work has always been something that has been on the radar but there is no stable structure to continue this work and build on it. That is why the Dutch couple is looking for someone (or more people) to join them in pioneering and creating a stable International student ministry. 10% of the students in 
Coimbra are international and in Lisbon there are even more. How great would it be if those students can hear the gospel? Some of them would never get the chance to hear it in their own country and may go back with the Good news after meeting Jesus through you.


What would it be like to work with the team in Portugal?

The international student work is still in the pioneer phase. This means there are some rough structures and lots of opportunities to be creative and experiment. Currently we are offering language conversation classes, dinners and Uncover Bible studies in the study café of GBU Portugal close to the university. You will be studying the language at Coimbra university in order to learn the language as well as to be a Christian presence there and meet and invite people. You’ll be working together with a small team and will be trained in multiple aspects of gospel ministry.

What about accommodation, living costs, courses, jobs?

What about accommodation, living costs, courses, jobs?
It is both possible to live on your own or share a flat with students or other team members, at a cost of about €300 a month (when you’re living with others), with three months' rent often payable in advance. The Team Leader will help team members to look for accommodation, and can provide short-term temporary accommodation in the meantime. Team members have to do a Portuguese language course at the University (Coimbra has a good one) for at least 1 or 2 semesters. This is an 18 hours of classes a week course. Costs are around €700 per semester. Monthly living costs are €600-650 a month, including costs for national conferences and staff meetings.

What special requirements are there for joining the InterAction Team in Portugal?

Visa: Visas are required for those from non-European Union countries.
Language: Basic Portuguese is necessary to work with the Portuguese GBU movement. You would not need it that much for the international student ministry but there are a lot of Brazilian and also 
Asian internationals that are better at speaking Portuguese then English.


Facts Box

Google Map








84.5% Catholic, 2.2% Protestant, 13.3% Other

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice

Message: Undefined index: Media

Filename: countries/single.php

Line Number: 37

© 2023 IFES, a UK charity no 247919 and a limited company, incorporated in London no 876229. L'IFES est une organisation déclarée en Suisse.

Global Connections Code of Best Practice logoIFES InterAction is recognised by Global Connections as operating under the Code of Best Practice in Short-Term Mission 2023