In which I realise I’m a dumbass – Mike Williamson, Coimbra

Time is flying by and I’m very busy with reading, essays etc (haven’t missed a class all semester despite drinking myself stupid – w00t!). Anyway we are back to bank accounts, 3 months after my arrival in Portugal. Thing is, it took a while to get a EU Citizenship thingymabob (something that’s obligatory here, unlike in Spain where the equivalent is merely “obligatory”) because you needed a permanent address which I didn’t have for a few weeks, and there were always big queues at the Loja de Cidadao so I quite often left it for another day. The next job was to get a bank account, something I did on my second day in Spain. Then I found out you need yet another identity number to open a bank account, then I’d have to decide on a bank, and transfer a load of money across from the UK, and of course my bank won’t let me do international transfers online so I’d have to get my mum to do it in person, which is difficult because she works a normal 9-5 job, you know like… the only time the banks are ever open – hey, don’t complain, they’re only open until 2 in Spain and I don’t know when they close here.

So after picking classes and getting the learning agreement sorted, I kinda forgot about the whole bank thing. “Don’t bother with it” my flatmate said, “they only charge 20c or something every time you withdraw money, it’s fine!” Of course with my flatmate being from the Eurozone it’s a bit different, I just checked right now and I’m actually getting charged £2 every time. 3 months later, with only 8 weeks or so left so it’s not even worth fixing it. Wonderful. Fortunately I tend to just take money out once a week or so, but still it’s… probably 50 quid I could’ve spent better.

So, the moral of the story is to get an account which doesn’t charge when you’re abroad (I heard Nationwide does one of these but rumour has it they stopped that service so check it out), or open a bank account ASAP when you arrive, and try not to forget. If you’re going for the latter, make sure you have someone at home who can access your bank account (simple matter of filling out a form for me), before you go, so that you have a way to transfer money whilst you’re away.

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