University in Portugal is making me feel like I am back in secondary school?

I’m sorry for your bad experience, but I think associating it with the whole country is too much of a generalisation. Yes, hierarchy and these antiquated values are more commonly the norm than what you would find in the average European country, but even so this is the kind of thing that highly depends on university or even on the teachers themselves.

While in my university (in a different city from the one you study in, as it seems) we don’t usually chat or have a pint with our teachers, it’s generally a relaxed environment. We address our teachers with “professor/professora” and there isn’t really a dress code or anything, and I don’t feel like the hierarchy is more enforced than it should be. Even so, it highly depends on the teacher. One department could be extremely cocky, condescending and unwilling to help, the other might be available to happily sit with you for a whole afternoon to help you out. That said, I have to admit I’ve heard about universities in the same city that have a strict title code (addressing teachers like “senhor doutor professor”) or other terrifying things like the ones you mention. From my understanding smaller cities have a much better environment in general.

When it comes to secondary school, my experience with teachers was great. They were much more relaxed and closer to students than what I feel now at university.

Good luck with your studies!

/r/portugal Thread