31 October, 2020       LISBON - MAX. Partial sunshineº, MIN. 03º

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Folders  |  VIE: An other way to find a job in Lisbon
VIE: An other way to find a job in Lisbon
Nicolas Besson
VIE: An other way to find a job in Lisbon
I arrived in Lisbon on the 2nd of April of 2006. I returned on the 2nd of April of 2008.

During this period I spent two marvellous years that allowed me to discover a new country, to get acquainted with a new language, to adopt a new culture and start my professional life in the best conditions possible. After my ending my studies at ESCP-EAP (Management University) in France, Germany, England and Spain, I was determined to work abroad to highlight my international background.

Portugal was just an option among so many others, even though I had started studying the language 3-4 months previously and that my girlfriend at the time was from Oporto.

PNB Paribas offered me a job as a credit analyst for professional clients through a IVWC (International voluntary work in Companies) contract.
I grabbed the opportunity, aware that by coming to Portugal I would have a better quality of life than by signing a local contract, whether moneywise (tax free), health insurance or as a stepping stone for my career (in the company, banking business or other Portuguese speaking countries).

The contract had an initial duration of 18 months (it could extend to 24, maximum). Although I spoke a correct Portuguese, I jumped head first full of enthusiasm into an unknown Lisbon. I had only been in this city for a quick visit during EXPO 98. At the time it didn´t leave lasting memories. But when you´re 17 years old you often travel with blinkers on your eyes which I quickly took off soon after.

Everything went very well for me. I found an apartment 3 days later, the other young French and resident IVWCs quickly took me into their community and introduced me to other Portuguese or Portuguese speaking people (Brazilian, Angolan or Mozambican).
On the other hand, the weekends spent in the North let me discover new aspects of Portugal. Work also went very smoothly. I was treated like a full employee, despite the short duration of the contract. I received some training in Paris, I met clients, I worked with some of the biggest companies in Portugal. I was at ease working in French, English or Portuguese, which was very enjoyable.

I extended my contract for another 6 months, thus reaching the maximum of 24 months of IVWC. My fascination for Lisbon continued: I could spend winter in mild conditions, go to the beach in November, work on some of the more interesting operations of BNP Paribas at the end of 2007 thanks to accumulated experience, enjoy the Bairro Alto nightlife, practice for the 2 marathons I ran over both Tagus bridges...

When the final day is drawing closer, you want to seize all these good moments and live as intensely as possible the Lisbon experience. I spent the last 6 months trembling at the thought that I would probably never again enjoy such a good lifestyle anywhere else. Because I knew that despite all these advantages, staying here would stop me from taking full advantage of my first professional experience.

Staying would mean doing the same work at PNB Paribas, under the same conditions or accept a substantial decrease in my quality of life after signing a local contract with a Lisbon company. I chose to continue building my professional background. I would leave in the next few days for London. Another new experience. Undoubtedly less out of place however ironic this may sound due to the reputation of the English capital. I couldn´t stay still and lazily enjoy Lisbon, even if the summer here is much better than anywhere else. Bottom-line is, an IVWC is no better than a short term contract with no social benefits because there are no deductions during its existence. To avoid stagnation, I had to move on, at 26 years of age.

This didn´t mean I wouldn’t return to Lisbon one day. In 3 or 4 years I think I will be able to “fly with my own wings” and start my own business. In my opinion, Lisbon is a very good place for my project to be successful.

Nicolas Besson


For further information:

Mission Économique de Lisbonne  : www.missioneco.org/portugal

CIVI : www.civiweb.com

Ubifrance www.ubifrance.fr/vie/volontariat-international-entreprise.asp

Out of the following buildings, which do you think best symbolises Lisbon?
Belém tower
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
25th April bridge
Praça do Comércio (square)
S. Jorge Castle
Rossio Station
Cathedral (Sé)
Free water aqueduct
Monument to discoveries
Santa Justa elevator
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