Finding an internship in Portugal

living in Portugal
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Updated 2023-11-01 10:41

Many students and young professionals dream of acquiring professional experience in a foreign country, which can be of great benefit to your professional career.

Living and working overseas can broaden your horizons, improve your language skills and open new doors for your career. Portugal can be the ideal country to undertake an internship, as there are many opportunities in a wide range of fields.

How to get an internship in Portugal?

To have the best success at obtaining an internship in Portugal, you must:

  • Have a good command of the Portuguese language. However, a strong knowledge of other foreign languages, such as English, Spanish, French and German, can also be advantageous;
  • Demonstrate a strong academic and/or professional background, as internships can be competitive;
  • Determine whether or not you will require a visa to enter Portugal for the purposes of interning.

Internship durations can vary from several months up to a year and can be part-time or full-time.

Important:

Starting from 2023, unpaid internships are no longer legal in Portugal. The only exception refers to internships that offer academic credit as part of a cycle of studies.

Popular internship fields in Portugal

In general, Portuguese companies welcome international students, recent graduates, skilled professionals, as well as job seekers. Depending on your future career goals, you may wish to undertake an internship within your field of study or future occupation. Major industries in Portugal include tourism, electronics, finance, oil, technology, pharmaceuticals, software and IT, textiles, renewable energy and machinery, to name a few. Students and workers in these fields may benefit from an internship in Portugal.

The country is modern and developed, with a robust economy, meaning internships may later lead to paid career opportunities.

How to apply for an internship in Portugal?

Before applying for internships, ensure your resume is up to date and showcases your skills in the best possible way. You will need to apply for internships via your resume and a cover letter, outlining why you are the best fit for the role and how you can benefit the company. Internships, like paid jobs, can be very competitive, so it's important to put your best image forward. Make sure your resume also includes the languages you speak and how fluent you are. Some internships may also require an in-person or telephone/Skype interview.

The best way to find internships in Portugal is online or via media or newspapers. You can start by looking through international websites like Monster, Indeed, Hays, and others, while the most popular job-hunting websites in Portugal – which also post internship opportunities – are Net Empregos, Portal Emprego and Sapo Emprego.

On the other hand, if you are interested in interning for a particular company, consider contacting them directly to inquire about potential internship programs. If you are a university student, your university may be able to help with internship placements, course credits, or housing options.

Once you complete your internship, you may also consider continuing your career in Portugal.

Activar.PT – The most popular internship program in Portugal

There are currently a few government programs that actually pay the company to employ interns, helping them gain the necessary experience to enter the Portuguese labor market independently after the internship is over. The most famous program is called Activar.pt from IEFP and is widely used by companies from a wide range of sectors.

Under the current Portuguese law, full-time interns with a college degree must make, at the very least, the minimum wage plus a 25% surplus. If a company tries to offer any less, at least know they are going against the approved legislation under the Activar.PT program, full-time interns make 950€/month.

The program is open to college graduates between 18 and 30, as well as anyone between 30 and 45 who has been unemployed for the past 12 months and is currently enrolled in the Centro Qualifica (public employment portal for training opportunities). Naturally, candidates who have only completed high school will have a lower monthly payment from the program.

If you qualify and the company is interested in your services as an intern, they are the ones to complete your application through the official governmental portal.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.