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Schools' Writing Competition 2024

To celebrate the national day, PORTUGAL DECODED invites students to tells us what Portugal means to them for a chance to win a balance board by Abaeté.

On June 10, Portugal celebrates its National Day - officially known as the Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities.

To celebrate the occasion, PORTUGAL DECODED is thrilled to announce an exciting opportunity for young writers to showcase their talent: an English essay writing competition open to all students aged 12 to 18 years old.

The Challenge

Do you love surfing? Are you mad about the food? Do you enjoy the weather?

Inspired by the forthcoming Portugal's National Day, PORTUGAL DECODED invites young students to write their own essay about “What makes Portugal special?"

As long as the essay is appropriate for a wide audience, students can write about whatever they like - the full guidelines below. Whether it's the variety of surf spots within a short disctance, the Portuguese weather or the warmth of its people, we encourage students to express their thoughts and experiences in crafting their essays.

The winning essay - chosen by a jury to be announced soon - will be featured on our weekly newsletter, and website, and its author will receive a handcrafted wood balance board by designers Abaeté.

The Prize

Balance boards are flat or slightly curved boards that are found in various shapes and sizes, from wood to dome-shaped. Usually, the bottom has a rocker or ball that makes the board tilt from side to side.

The Greeks and the Romans are believed to have used rudimentary forms of balance boards for physical conditioning. In Asia, particularly in Japan, balance boards were integrated into martial arts training, notably in disciplines like judo and karate. Today, they are valued as tools for athletic training but also as a recreational and therapeutic device, fostering mindfulness and body awareness.

Abaeté is a handcrafted furniture workshop based in Oeiras. In addition to designing and building furniture, Abaeté also regularly hosts woodworking workshops for beginners who have never had contact with carpentry tools. Check out their instagram account to find out more about their work and upcoming workshops.

The Rules

In addition to the guidelines above, here are the rules for the competition:

  • Entries must be submitted by a student between ageds 12 to 18 and enrolled in a middle school or high school in Portugal to participate.

  • Essays must be written in English and between 1000-2000 words in length. 

  • The work must be your own — it should not be plagiarized, written by someone else or generated by artificial intelligence.

  • Keep in mind that the work you send in should be appropriate for our newsletter's audience — that is, something that could be published in a family newspaper (so, please, no curse words).

  • Submit only one entry per student. 

  • All entries must be submitted, together with the students’ name, age and school, by June 1, at 11:59 p.m. Portugal time, via email to

  • Participants acknowledge that, by participating in the contest, they are authorizing Portugal Decoded to disclose and reproduce the materials submitted - as well as others related to them and voluntarily made available - with the respective attribution.

  • Submitted texts and personal information will be used solely for the purposes of administering this contest. We will not share on or sell this information and/or contact details to any third parties.

  • The personal data collected will be kept for the duration of the present contest. After the winners have been determined and the prize(s) awarded, the personal data will be deleted.

  • Portugal Decoded cannot be held responsible for the cancellation, postponement, or alteration of the contest due to unforeseen circumstances.

The Judging Process

  • Your work will be read by PORTUGAL DECODED as well as a jury to be announced soon. We will use our newsletter to announce the jury composition.

  • The winning essay will be featured on our weekly newsletter and website, and the author will receive an Abaeté balance board!

  • The winner will be announced on PORTUGAL DECODED's newsletter on June 7th.

  • Unfortunately, PORTUGAL DECODED will not have the capacity to provide feedback on all individual student essays. But we commit to reading them all.

For any additional questions write to us at We encourage you to share this email with others if you wish and consider also hanging the attached one-page announcement on your school bulletin board.

Why Participate?

Besides getting a chance to win an amazing balance board, participating in this essay competition offers students a unique opportunity to showcase their writing skills, explore their creativity, and gain recognition for their work.

So, young writers, sharpen your pencils, unleash your creativity, and join us in this exciting journey of discovery. Together, let's pay homage to Portugal and all that makes it a truly extraordinary place.

Happy writing!

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