In February 2020, I started my journey to Lisbon for an IAESTE internship. After finishing my master’s studies in chemistry, this was the perfect opportunity for me to broaden my international work experience and at the same time benefit from the adventures and learning process of living abroad. This was already my second internship with IAESTE (first one in Hong Kong) and was supposed to last for three months. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, the university closed and I had to return home already after around one month stay in Lisbon. Nevertheless, all my impressions and experiences feel more than this short time and I want to share them in this report combined with some useful tips for future interns. I was working in a research group at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. The project was about the modification of carbon fibres with different nanoparticles in order to use them for the photocatalytic degradation of pollutants in water. Therefore, different synthesis conditions and substrates should be compared by using various analysis methods, like DRS, FTIR, XRD and SEM. I had a great supervisor, who explained everything to me and showed me all-important procedures and analysis methods, but at the same time gave me space to work on my own when I was already comfortable with a procedure. Due to the shortened time of my work, I was only able to perform the first few syntheses and some of the characterization methods, namely DRS, FTIR and XRD, and the related data analysis. I could still learn a lot during this time, as I have never worked with nanoparticles before as well as with some of the mentioned analytical techniques. Also, my supervisor taught me the basics of the program Origin, which I then used for my data treatment and visualization.

Fcce69be d1a3 40bf 9603 2222dbf202ae


Most IAESTE interns go to Lisbon during summer, which is why I was the only IAESTE intern there at my time. However, Lisbon is a city with loads of Erasmus students and young workers, which makes it super easy to socialize and get to know new people. There are also two organizations, especially for international students and interns, who are called ESN and ELL. You can buy a membership card to take part in their events, which are various trips, activities and parties. They also provide WhatsApp groups, wherein you can get in touch with others easily. In my opinion, Lisbon is a city to fall in love with. It has a lot of steep and narrow streets, colourful houses and a nice riverbank. It’s the perfect place for diverse activities, like sightseeing, enjoying good food, relaxing on the beach, partying or surfing. Some of the events and trips that I did were basic sightseeing in Lisbon, a boat trip on the river Tejo, relaxing and watching the sunset on a nearby beach, some parties including a Karaoke party and a road trip over the most western point of continental Europe, Cabo da Roca, to Torres Vedras for visiting the carnival. Regarding accommodation, IAESTE Lisbon is not organizing the accommodation but helped me by providing me with links and always answering super fast on all my questions. As there are so many foreign students and young professionals, there are a lot of opportunities to find a room in a shared apartment for a few months. However, the prices are high – I found a nice room for ~400 €/month and was lucky compared to others – and you have to be careful as there is a lot of scams around. In my case, I found my room on Facebook and did a video visit beforehand. My tips for this crucial topic are the following: As it is common to have to pay at least one month’s rent and a deposit in advance, I would suggest you to either visit the place on-site or to insist on at least a video visit if you find the room through Facebook. There are also some online services for booking accommodation, like Uniplaces or Spotahome. They provide you with higher security regarding your money but you have to pay them an additional fee. From what I have heard, some people have made great experiences with them and some got apartments that looked way different than on the picture. Also, be aware that not all bedrooms may have a window, so pay attention to this detail on the photos. Most importantly, trust your instincts and if something seems to be strange, better be safe than sorry.


There are two sides to what I’ve learned in Lisbon. On the one hand, I’ve broadened my international work experience and got an insight into an interesting research topic. I’ve learned some new techniques and got to know a different laboratory environment and working style. On the other hand, I’ve learned a lot for myself by stepping out of my comfort zone. It forced me to face some challenges, be open-minded and approach new people. I had to cope with different characters and experienced a different lifestyle and culture. For all of these reasons, in my opinion, living in a foreign country for a few weeks or months is such a different experience than to just go there for holidays. The advantage of doing such an internship with IAESTE is that even though you go there alone, you never feel fully alone. Usually, you have some other IAESTE interns in the same situation with you. Even if not, there is at least the IAESTE committee that can help you out with your questions. At this point, I would like to say special thanks to Sara from IAESTE Portugal. She was super friendly and helpful and always answered my questions really fast – even though I had quite a few. Even when universities closed due to COVID-19, she helped me to make the best out of my situation. Of course, experiences like these always have ups and downs and I have to admit that I was feeling homesick a lot at the beginning. However, in the end, what stays are the awesome time that you have spent there, the new friends from around the world and the impact this experience had on yourself.

Discover More IAESTE Experiences

B173e371 f167 41b1 8718 2d0b049db2c6
Mesaieed, Qatar


Electronics and Information Tech...



Home country


9356f212 d41e 419c 89fc a17cf97fb900
Osijek, Croatia


Computer Science and Engineering


Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek

Home country


Cb85825c 5a80 4ca9 b2bf 02840ce198aa
Temuco, Chile


Industrial Engineering


University de La Frontera

Home country

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)


Explore Our Internships