API and Erasmus: The Best of Both Worlds [API Blog]

Today’s blog post comes to us from University of North Texas student & API blogger Karina Feliciano. She’s studying abroad with us in Lisbon, Portugal.

API Lisbon student Karina Feliciano

As the last API excursion came to an end last week, my sadness was washed away with the fact that Erasmus Life Lisboa, a program dedicated to international students studying in Lisbon, still has trips planned that I can join. I learned about “Erasmus Life Lisboa” soon after arriving in Lisbon, and since I’ve joined, I have gotten to do a ton of cool activities through them such as a sangria botellón (social gathering), a street art tour, and pub crawls!

A brief history of the Erasmus Program

The Erasmus Program is a European Union student exchange program established in 1987 that allows students part of universities in the EU to study and/or gain work experience in other EU countries. So basically, it’s API for European Students. Erasmus Life Lisboa is a branch of Erasmus in Lisbon that plans social gatherings, events, and trips for exchange students to participate in. The best part is that they accept any student studying in Lisbon, even if they are not doing it through Erasmus.

Excursions through API

Since moving to Portugal, I have gotten the wonderful opportunity to go to two excursions hosted by API. The first one was Lagos and the second was Porto. To say the least, Lagos was paradise. We got to stay in Tivoli, an amazing 4-star hotel that doubled as a maze for us yet was actually fun to get lost in. And on our first full day, we got to go kayaking through the incredible rock formations and caves along the coast. Afterward, the rest of the weekend was filled with exploring the town, eating good food, and hanging out in the warm weather!

Porto is distinctly different from Lagos but was still an incredibly amazing experience. The first day there, it was cold and rainy and we had a walking tour scheduled. It was still very fun getting to see different churches and monuments around Porto, regardless of the fact that we basically walked through the city in a monsoon. I’m impressed that our little group had stayed out there in the cold and rain like that, shoes sloshing and all. The next day was perfect. We got to walk along the river, buy some nice things, and we got to do a Port wine tasting tour because Porto is where it originated! Now I can say with no shame that Port wine tastes like cough syrup.

Overall, I’m so grateful that I got to visit those two remarkable cities in Portugal thanks to API.

Although those excursions are over, I will be going to Spain in December through Erasmus Life Lisboa! To put it into perspective, for their welcome month (September), Erasmus Life Lisboa had an event planned every. single. day. They had surf days, yoga, Zumba, karaoke, walking tours, rooftop parties, and to end off the month, a trip to Lagos just like API!

For anyone from the U.S. studying abroad or interning in Europe, I highly recommend looking into the events that Erasmus Life has going on throughout the time you are abroad.

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