Portugal is a stunning, sun kissed European nation to which annually hundreds of thousands of visitors flock for the sun, the sea, the lifestyle and the golf…
Many of these holidaymakers vow one day to return and take up residence in Portugal and in fact, out of all the European nations Portugal is one of the evergreen favourites with expatriates from around the world as well as retirees seeking a warm and safe low cost nation in which to retire.
If you’re thinking of moving abroad to live in Portugal you need to engage in some practical planning because while moving is considered to be one of the most stressful things one can do, moving abroad is doubly so unless you get everything in place and understood before you go.
This article is a guide to the practical planning you need to do before you move abroad to live in Portugal so that your relocation is as smooth and successful as possible.
The very first thing you need to get a handle on is the language – Portuguese is a notoriously complicated language to master and as a result many who move to live in Portugal settle in areas such as the Algarve where there is a strong international community where English is widely spoken and understood.
Try and take Portuguese lessons before you move to Portugal and consider settling in an area where English is used – look at the main cities such as Lisbon and Faro or examine the Algarve region as previously mentioned. Once you’ve mastered the language sufficiently so that you can communicate and make friends and associates then you can look around the nation and see if an alternative part of Portugal appeals to you more.
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If you have children you need to take time to think about how you are going to choose to have them educated. There are a number of international schools in Portugal – again these are in the Algarve or in the main cities. If your children are over the age of about 7 you should really educate them at an international school through the medium of their mother tongue or else you risk harming their educational development.
If on the other hand the cost of educating your children privately is prohibitive (and it can be expensive in Portugal), or if your children are very young, you have the option of sending them to local state school which is free. State schools naturally teach through the medium of Portuguese.
Whichever option you decide to take, make sure you find out about availability of places for your children in nursery or school before you move to Portugal….nursery places are especially difficult to secure in certain areas of the country for example and you need to register early for a space.
The next most important consideration is employment and money. If you need to work to support your family you should find work before you go and you should find out whether your experience and qualifications translate accordingly in Portugal. Many British expatriates decide to go and live in the Algarve and think that although they can’t speak the language that they can pick up work as a pool cleaner or something – naturally competition for such work is high and time and time again you read stories of expatriates struggling to cope financially on forums about living in Portugal.
The number one reason why relocations abroad fail is the financial one – so get a job in place or sort out your financial situation before you commit to moving to live in Portugal and be very realistic about your chances of finding secure and ongoing employment.
Finally, you need to find somewhere to live! Even if you’ve holidayed many times in a particular part of Portugal you should still consider renting property before you commit to a real estate purchase. This is because once on the ground and living day to day in Portugal you’ll become more aware of opportunities to buy property and you’ll be amazed at how local prices are much lower than tourism prices! What’s more, you’ll become more knowledgeable about the areas of the country that appeal to you, your family, your lifestyle and your budget.