From Egypt to Portugal as an IT Professional – Everything You Need to Know

Moving to another country for work can be scary. From culture shock to language barriers, there are a lot of challenges to consider. However, change can be good, especially if you have a company like KWAN backing you up every step of the way. In this article, Ahmed, a software engineer from Egypt, tells you about his own experience moving to Portugal.

After applying for KWAN, back in 2023, I passed a quick technical assessment and then, I started having interviews for different projects, in order to find the perfect match for my skills and experience.

I remember feeling excited, as working at KWAN could be a great opportunity to try the outsourcing working model, in which one gets to work on different projects and in several industries.

And why Portugal, you ask? Because the country is becoming an important tech hub centre in Europe, especially for two reasons: there are a lot of highly qualified professionals with cutting-edge tech knowledge; and the market is interesting to invest in, especially considering other European countries. Throughout the article, I’ll give you more reasons why I love this country, so keep reading!

KWAN provided me with legal assistance when I was still in Egypt, ensuring I had all the needed documents before my appointment. The first thing I had to do was submit a VFS application, for that, I had a meeting with a lawyer, who assisted me by providing a checklist with all the needed documents. Thanks to her, my VFS appointment went really smoothly and it was only a matter of time before I moved to the second step, which was the embassy appointment. The consular office wanted to verify my work experience, therefore, I was asked to present HR letters from previous work experiences. He also wanted to know if I had any connections in Porto, such as family members, that might help me if I had any trouble in Portugal. Finally, they asked me if I knew about the rent prices and overall life expenses in Portugal in terms of finding accommodation, transportation, and minimum wages. 

I was also asked a couple of questions about both KWAN and the project I was going to work on. KWAN took on the responsibility of following up with the embassy about my visa status. Thankfully, 60 days later, I was granted permission to travel to Portugal with a D2 visa sponsored by the company.

I was super excited and packed right away. Thanks to KWAN’s team, I was asked to have a final meeting to make sure that I had the necessary documents before coming to Portugal for the next step, which was the SEF appointment.

During that time, KWAN pre-prepared several documents for me, such as the NIF, the NISS, and all the paperwork needed so that I could legally start working. And they even opened a bank account for me!

Finding accommodation in Porto

Image by Daniel Seßler, taken from

This part was a bit tricky, but thankfully I had lots of help from my People Manager! 

And what is a People Manager? Find out in this article.

So, thanks to my People Manager, I was able to find a temporary stay at an Airbnb, and then I took the 38 days I had in Porto, as a temporary stay, to give myself time to search.

The place was perfect as it had everything I needed in the neighbourhood, such as a pharmacy, grocery shop, hospital, and bus station. But to be honest, I didn’t use the bus so much, as I was only 15 minutes away on foot from my project’s office!

Nevertheless, I still needed permanent accommodation, and, thanks to my People Manager, who showed me a couple of good options, I moved to a newly constructed students’ residence with a lot of useful facilities, such as a gym.

I absolutely recommend living in a place like this: it has a good environment with many Erasmus students and like-minded professionals, which is really cool because I never feel alone. Most of the time, we get to share ideas and talk about projects, the industry, and how we can improve our work. Having so many things in common with different people is an amazing way to create good memories!

Back to my SEF appointment, it went really well, I got to meet one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Portugal, Espinho, and I didn’t feel any pressure, I was simply asked to present my documents (which were already prepared by KWAN) and that was all!

Why Portugal 

When asked why Portugal, I can’t answer with just one reason. Not only is Portugal becoming a great tech hub, with so many companies choosing to settle part of their operations here, but it’s also a country with an incredible and affordable quality of life, in terms of infrastructure, safety, and education. It’s a country rich in history, diverse culture, beautiful beaches, and landscapes. Moreover, it has people coming from all over the world, such as Brazil, Argentina, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Canada, Ukraine, Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, and much more. You hardly feel alone or as if you don’t belong here, when there are so many people going through the same, living the same adventure as you are!

The Portuguese

Portuguese people are used to speaking English, so there were no communication barriers for me. They’re easy-going and friendly, and have a high sense of humour. They’re also quite humble and genuine, and I have never met anyone here who doesn’t have a good character. This makes you feel safe and at home.

In Portugal, it’s easy to approach people, ask questions, and seek help. Portuguese people are always ready to help! They aren’t constantly rushing to work, they also love to chill and party! You can always find a good company to go out and have a nice dinner with. They know how to enjoy life.

Food, history, and culture

I’m attracted to culture and history, luckily, Portugal has both! The country is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting places in the world. You have Braga with many religious monuments, Aveiro with its unique water channels, Porto with its dynamic life and night parties, and Lisbon, of course, the capital of the country, with so much to offer in so many areas!

The Portuguese gastronomy is very rich, offering a wide range of food and tastes. You’ll love trying all of them! I already tried the famous Francesinha, codfish, and Portuguese custard tarts. Moreover, you can always find nice restaurants and cafes wherever you go.

How the company culture influenced my adaptation 

Anyone in this area knows how important it is to have a network. KWAN organises many events, such as summer sessions, cinema nights, and regional dinners, which allows me to get to know other coworkers and experience diversity up close. In these events, I already met colleagues from Portugal, Nigeria, Morocco, Cape Verde, and Brazil.

This kind of culture enriches you on many levels. There is no bias of any kind and you’re only judged by the things you can control, such as your skills. The company culture is also good because it is a flat company where you can reach anyone and ask for help, for which I am very grateful.

As a man coming from Egypt, which has a very different culture, I would like to highlight that the nature of Portuguese people is the key that helped me integrate with their system and understand everything quickly.

Portugal & Egypt – similarities and differences 

Both Portuguese and Egyptians are quite humble, have a good sense of humour, are friendly, and are easy to approach. Both share a rich history and culture. Those are the similarities, now let’s explore the differences.

Work culture

As opposed to the Egyptians, the Portuguese have mastered a work-life balance, and they know how to live in the moment. Their culture is open and they have well-organised business habits, such as meeting deadlines, respecting everyone, expressing opinions, and providing constructive feedback.


The majority of people in Egypt practice Islam, while the majority of people in Portugal are Christian. I would love to take Portugal as an example of such a peaceful place with diverse religions and beliefs where no one would be judged regarding their religion or based on their beliefs. Everyone is free. This part really is one of the most touching parts of Portugal, whether you are religious or not, you can always fit into this culture. Also for Muslims, we have some masjids here, so do not worry about finding a place to pray.


Egyptian cuisine is heavily influenced by ancient Egyptian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines. By contrast, Portuguese cuisine is influenced by its maritime history, with an emphasis on seafood, as well as Mediterranean and Atlantic flavours. It’s undeniable that Portuguese cuisine is on a very high level, and we have plenty of options here, whether it’s seafood, vegetarian, or beef dishes. However, there’s nothing like food that tastes like home, am I right? Therefore, when I want to eat Egyptian food, I usually cook it myself. Happily, it’s easy to find the ingredients here in Porto.

From Egypt to Portugal as an IT Professional – Everything You Need to Know: Final Thoughts

I believe that Portugal is a great destination for anyone willing to come to Europe to learn, enrich their work, and live personal experiences. It is a good place to live since it is not very expensive, especially when compared to the rest of the European countries. Moreover, Portuguese people are welcoming and they are used to speaking English; there is a big international community, and you’re still able to keep your habits from your home country, such as praying or eating your favourite food.

If you’re a tech professional and you would like to work in Portugal, I recommend KWAN, as they have helped me through the whole process, from the bureaucratic part to finding a house or opening a bank account. 

I’m happy to answer any questions about my experience living and working in Portugal, so feel free to contact me on LinkedIn!