Placement overview

Name: Vicky
Vocational area: Health & Social Care
Duration: 2 weeks
Location: Povoa de Varzim, Portugal
  • "Working abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, which will help me to stand out when applying for a job; it is unique and shows that I am willing to go outside of my comfort zone to expand my knowledge within the sector."

    Vicky, Health & Social Care learner, Portugal

The motivation

I hadn’t been able to participate in work placement at college, due to covid. On completion of the course, I felt that doing work experience would be hugely valuable. Being able to travel to a new country and gain work experience at the same time really appealed to me.

The placement

My work placement was at Centro Social Paoquial de Terroso in the adult care sector. I helped with daily tasks at the centre. and on occasion I went to the beach or pool with the residents. I really enjoyed this as it meant I could build relationships with them and be more hands-on.

I learnt how to communicate with people that did not speak English, as I cannot speak Portuguese, so I used body language. This was a real achievement for me, as I am normally quite shy and reserved. I knew that I had to put myself out there in order to do a good job at placement.

The location

I really enjoyed visiting Porto and Braga, and learning more about Portuguese culture. These trips allowed me to understand more about the lifestyle of the residents at placement.

I also liked the fact that Portugal is in the same time zone as the UK, so that my body clock did not have to adapt. This made me feel prepared and refreshed to work.



The impact

Working abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, and will help me to stand out against other applicants when applying for a job. It is unique and shows that I am willing to go outside of my comfort zone to expand my knowledge within the sector. The placement taught me how to communicate with others through body language, which is a transferable skill that I can use in future jobs.

I have now been offered a position as Care Assistant at an elderly care home, which I start next month. I felt that mentioning my work experience in Portugal impressed the interviewer and helped me to get the job.  Eventually I would like to work my way up within social care and become a care co-ordinator.

My biggest piece of advice for future participants is to learn as much Portuguese as possible, as I found for me, the language barrier was the biggest challenge.


  • Improved language skills
  • Exposure to cultural experience
  • Confidence building
  • Improved people skills

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