6 crazy facts of PhD Students

The various reports and statistics says that there are almost 15-17 million graduate students around the world who are working in different areas. And you need to know these important facts


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Best European Countries where PhD are well paid

Europe is the best of the continent to pursue your Doctorate studies. Along with nice infrastructure and facilities in the education system, Europe is known for its vibrant cultures, lifestyle, food and the ease of travelling from one country to another. I am writing this blog as an International student for the international students who wish to pursue PhD in Europe.  There are certain problems if our country does not have any diplomatic relations with European Union then, you will have to go through administrative work if you are moving around in Europe for official work. But I will come to this later. Lets talk about the expectation of an International student coming from Asia, south America or North America. I have hardly seen any students pursuing doctorate studies in Europe but there are lot of Asians and South Americans travelling to Europe for Higher studies. Maximum number of students expect a good stipend as you are giving commitment to pursue PhD for 3-4 years which is important to keep in your mind before you make any big decision. Everyone is rushing to start PhD in Europe or North America before analyzing the complete situation in detail. Why, I am pressing this issue is because most of the PhD stipend/Scholarship remains constant for the 3-4 years in many countries of Europe.  For ex: If you start your PhD in 2018 which gives a stipend/monthly salary of 1000 euros/month, your salary will remain the same until 2021.

The pattern and style of PhD has completely changes significantly demanding the industrial results instead of real research. The world load in terms of administrative, scientific publications and results has increased where as the time period of PhD has also reduced to 3 years. Considering the economy, lifestyle and other related things, it will be wise for all the PhD students to choose a PhD that funds high salary along with other benefits.  Here is the list of countries in Europe that pay the high salaries for PhD graduates along with other benefits including insurance and pension plans.














































Spanish Visa and work permit

There are always lot of confusions and doubts when it comes to apply for visa and work permit for foreign countries. It becomes more complex when you are already working or studying in a foreign country and have to apply for visa for another foreign country. For ex: You are an Indian who came to Portugal to study for a masters but luckily you got into a PhD Program or a better Master’s program in Spain or France with full scholarship. The deadline to accept the program and apply for all the paper work is approaching and going back to India and apply for visa is not a solution as it will take more time. I cannot tell you the exact requirements and documents you will need to file the visa as it will vary according to your needs. But I am going to tell you the basic documents you should be prepared beforehand.

I came to Portugal to pursue my Erasmus Program but I got selected for a PhD position in Spain, so I had to apply for the Spanish visa and work permit. If you are a Non EU citizen, the most important thing is your criminal record from all the countries you have been in last 5 years. The problem is that most of the criminal records issued by official organisation are only valid for 3-6 months. So, if you are already in Europe for one or two months, most probably it had already expired and you had to apply for new criminal record from your home country and the present country of residence.

There are two ways to apply for Indian criminal record; from Indian embassy in the present country of residence such as Portugal and France. And other one is directly applying online in India via State police website as there are options to apply for criminal records who are living abroad. Both ways can take some time as in the former way, it depends on the availability of the dates in the embassy but the best part is that you don’t have to go to another place to legalize the document. But in the later method, you would have to send the document to legalize it and then get it transferred to you by courier. So you have to make this call considering the overall situation. The best option will be to apply for a criminal record in the Indian Embassy in your country of residence. And according to me, getting a criminal record in European countries in not a difficult task. You can check my blog on getting a criminal record in Portugal here:


Secondly, if you are travelling from one European country to another, they will ask for some translated documents such as your criminal records and final diploma. In some cases, they also ask for translated document of your transcripts. Just in case you are in Spain and you want to get your documents translated by an authorized association, you can try this company – https://www.traduccionjurada.tv/ . I think they are little expensive but quite efficient. Oh yes, I think you would also need the medical certificate from your present country of residence along with translated copy. So make sure that you get this certificate on time.

Now finally to apply for you Spanish visa and work permit, you would need the following documents to complete the overall process.

  1. Complete Copy of the passport (all the pages as it does not matter even if they are empty and the copy of your present visa)
  2. Certificate of criminal records from the all the countries you have been in past 5 years along with its sworn translation.
  3. Your national identification number to conduct your work or research in your country of residence (Presently, I am discussing the requirements for Spanish visa and work permit but I believe it should be more or less same for other European countries).
  4. Document MI-T is for your mobility in Europe that you or your university has to present along with your application of your residence permit. You can make this request online through Ministry of labor and social security.
  5. The next document will be the proof of registration of document 4 that is generated when you apply for MI-T.
  6. The proof of payment of the fee for issuing the residence permit that will be in the form ¨Model M790038 or Model 790052.
  7. Model Mi-TIE and visa application form.

I cannot say that this is the exact process as the process varies according to your situation. The process will be easy if your university or organisation is applying for your work permit but I hope this blog will ease your process of applying for work permit.


Crazy Basque


Basques are the only people who live or have land in two countries i.e. northern spain and southwest france. I was in Bilbao for a week living with the people of Bilbao/Basque and getting to know as much as i could in a week. I think the best way to know about a culture is getting to know the people themselves. The location is truly spectacular with ridges, coast, bay and mountain ranges.  The Basque language is one of the oldest European language with no written record until 19th century, also known as Euskara. Surprisingly, it is totally unrelated to Spanish language and have no common language family. Bilbao is the main city of Basque and walking through this small city of around a million people and over 6000 bars and cafes made me feel like walking in a dream or perhaps drunk wonderland. I think it would be right to call Basque a crazy, amazing region. Just imagine for a moment that they were the first ones to start commercial Whale and Cod hunting back in 11th century in the bay of basque and were out in the Atlantic by 16th century with boats made out of Wood.

There are 3 main languages in Spain; Catalan spoken in Catalnoia Province, Euskara in Basque and Spanish in rest of Spain. I am not sure if there are other languages as well. For now, here are words to say goodbye in 3 languages

Adios (Spanish); Adeo (Catalan); Agur (Euskara);

Few things about Basque apart from lots of parties.

ANGULAS O GULAS- Angulas the most expensive Basque cuisine mostly or only found in the bay of Basque. They are baby eels that cost around 1000 Euros per kg. The word Angulas was invented by the fine businessmen of Basque region and surprisingly it took the other Spanish regions around a century discover this incredible cuisine. And yes, I am sure most of the travellers wont spend 1000 euros to eat a particular type of sea food. So for them there is an alternative or rather a duplicate of this fish known as Gulas that are pretty cheap to buy and you can get them for 3-4 Euros per 150 grams. But most of the people describe the taste being almost similar.


BILBAO TILE – There is also unique thing about the sidewalk pattern of Bilbao which was invented in Bilbao to meet the needs of rainy days in Bilbao. Its now been exported in all over the world and is the representative image and the symbol of bilbao.



Basque Tattoo- I also saw a similar tattoo on the hands of a few old people that I came across which I think may have many meanings. But one man told me that four dots describe the four walls and center dot describes a man stuck in between these walls during the hard times in Basque. Usually, it was symbol for all the people who went to jail for a political issue between Basque people and rest of Spain.


But i am gonna bring more interesting details about BASQUE in late 2017. So wait for it!DSC_6440




Criminal Record for an International Student in Portugal

Are you an international student who is going to study in different countries of EUROPE? Or are you planning to move to other european country from Portugal. All the international students are required to provide the criminal record from all the countries they have been in past 5 years. It is very easy to get your criminal record in Portugal . You will get your police/criminal record from lisbon and there are two steps which can be done in less than 4 hours. Although you can get your criminal record in any city of portugal but you would have to come to Lisbon for second step.
1. The first step is to get your criminal record from campus da justiça registo criminal,Av. Dom João II. And to reach there, you have to drop down at ORIENTE METRO STATION and walk to the left of the market for almost 500 mtrs and your destination will be to the right side. Try to reach there early in the morning if you want to avoid the long queue and dont forget to take your passport along. Its pretty simple, you have to go, give them your passport and ask for your criminal record. There are two types of criminal record; one is specifically for a country like spain, germany, france etc and other one is for all over europe. They will charge you 9 euros for both the documents.
5 euros- for a specific country
4 euros- for all over europe.
Its better if you take both of them
2. The second stamp is to get your criminal record legalised i.e, to get an apostille stamp. And for that you have to go one of the office of Procuradoria Geral da República at Rua Vale do Pereiro nº 2. Take a train from ORIENTE station to RATO. It will take about 20 or 25 mins to reach there and you have to change 2 trains which you will figure it out. The distance between RATO metro to rua vale do pereiro nº 2 is just 230 mtrs and its easy to locate otherwise ask a localite there and they will tell you the exact spot to go. You show them your passport,take the visitor pass and reach the first floor.  The process will charge you 10 euros and 20 cents per document.
Its done and time to eat some pastel de nata.



Food of Portugal

It`s very hard to choose among foods from any country. Because everyone has their own speciality and dishes(and their own tastes for that matter), so I am just going to write about the food I ate and loved in Portugal. I was lucky to share an apartment with Portuguese people who happened to be amazing cooks. And well finding a house in Faro, Portugal for long term is not easy although I got it in just 2 days. I will share that in a different blog. For now, let`s talk about food.

1. Polvo a Galega- I realised that I finally came to Portugal when I tried Polvo Agaelda which is a octopus boiled and then cooked in olive oil with salt and black pepper. It had topping of some olives which was served with local Portuguese bread. I couldn’t identify it first as it was chopped into small pieces which completely put off its appearance and I must say it was very tasty dish.
2. Tremocos (Just like Peanuts) It’s a quite similar to peanuts which are rich in alkaloids, fibre and proteins. Good to eat along with your chilled beverage.

3. Bacalhao (Cod Fish)- It is also known as the National fish of Portugal and there is a saying that you can do this dish in 365 ways. Portugal is also the largest importer of this national dish. This fish is low in fat, high zinc, potassium and other essential micronutrients and amino acids. My flatmate cooked it in a traditional style with potatoes, onions and béchamel sauce. He bolied the fillets of cod for like 5-10 mins in water and peeled off the skin and bones. You can also do this step the other way around. Then fry some potatoes in olive oil and you can also choose some potato chips if you want to skip this step. Add your potatoes, onions and garlic in your baking pan at your oven at 300-350C. Then add your cod and béchamel sauce over it. Keep your eyes on the oven and switch it off until you get the golden crust on the top. Its ready to be attacked.
4. Bolas (Bolas de berlim)- It’s a sweet delicacy similar to muffin not exactly muffin. It has got a layer of cream and sprinkled with sugar on the top. The people selling the bolasa in Faro and other famous beaches in Portugal make around 3000 Euros/month in tourist season that is mostly April-September They make approximately 14000 Euros in the tourist season which is more than enough money to live a happening life in Portugal for a whole year. But it’s a amazing food to satisfy your sweet tooth and don`t forget the amazing sea in front of you.
5. Entremeada – It`s a typical Portuguese snack to eat in the evening made out of flesh of the back of pork. The meat is garnished only with pepper and salt and fried in olive oil. It is ready to serve with your favorite bread. It does wonders with special Portuguese beer SAGRES 😀.
6. Pastel de Nata and café- It’s the usual legendary breakfast of Portuguese people which isincredibly delicious and spread throughout Portugal. These pastries are made egg tart, milk based custard and cinnamon covered with a nest of crisp layers. You got to taste it with a cup of coffee.





Portuguese Visa for Indians

Faro is my first foreign city and Portugal is my first foreign country. I am going to start my first semester of Erasmus masters in University of Algarve. The process to apply for Portuguese visa is not complex but takes a lot of time as compared to other countries.

Here are the documents required if you are applying for student visa

  1. Application form
  2. Passport size photos
  3. Bank statement for past 6 months
  4. Flight tickets
  5. Proof of accommodation
  6. Police clearance certificate (English/Portuguese)
  7. Legalised/Apostille Documents (Diploma and Transcripts)
  8. Offer letter from the university
  9. Letter from your sponsor (University/ Parents)
  10. Identity proof of your parents in case they are sponsoring you
  11. Cover letter explaining the purpose and plan of your study program
  12. Copies of communication/transactions with the university
  13. Health and travel insurance

How to prepare all your documents

  1. Police clearance certificate (PCC) – You can apply for your PCC online using this Delhi Police website.


  1. Cover Letter- It should clearly mention the following points
  • Study period and plan
  • Brief Educational background
  • Purpose – Interest and Future Prospects
  • Fees Structure
  • Brief about your insurance policy
  1. Sponsorship letter – A letter from your University or parent stating that they are responsible to bear all the expenses. Also, attach the identity proof of your parents, if they are financing your studies.
  2. Health and travel insurance – I got my insurance done by Bajaj Allianz Insurance Company and its price was Rs 7000 that covers you for 100,000 USD for one year.

The process of applying for visa has become quite simple these days as the embassies have hired the VFS office to collect and process all the documents before the interview at embassy which reduces the load of paper work on embassy. I had enough time to apply for visa and I already had collected all my documents in advance. It is ideal to apply for Portuguese student (Short term/long term) prior to 45-50 days.  I could have booked the appointment on my own but I approached the Perfect Visa consultancy service, Janakpuri, Delhi as it was my first time. The consultancy helped me in scheduling the appointment with VFS office and aligning all the documents as required. They charged me with Rs 2200 which I believe is too much but can`t help it.  But after reading this blog, I don’t think that you  need to approach any visa consultancy.

There is no hustle in booking the appointment but make sure that you have all the documents ready. You can book your appointment using this link.


Remember to reach the VFS office only prior to 15 minutes of your interview time. VFS office, Delhi is located at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught place and the nearest metro station is Rajiv Chowk. Take exit from gate 7,8.  They will check your documents and give you the interview date as per your travel dates.

The whole process will take 30-45 days.

Enjoy Portugal 😀