OLS Stories: Interview with Andrea!

OLS Stories is a new campaign from the Portuguese Community of OLS, which aims to let you know a little bit of the mobility experience of some international students. This time we interviewed Andrea, she is a student from Erasmus Mundus (an Erasmus+ programme) and she is doing her mobility in Porto. Keep reading to know more about Andrea's mobility experience and the adaptation to the Portuguese language!

Can you present and talk a little bit about yourself?

Well, my name is Andrea Garcia. I am 26 years old. I come from Mexico, and I'm doing an Erasmus Mundus master's program. So, I'm right now in my second semester studying at University Data Católica Portuguesa in Porto.

Porto Sunset

Andrea is doing an Erasmus Mundos program, what does this mean? It’s a high-level and integrated study programme, at master level. They are designed and delivered by an international partnership of higher education institutions (HEI). The students of this Erasmus+ program can do their studies in more than one city/university in Europe. 

Which countries did you already study or the ones that you’re going to? 

Yeah, so the program starts in Bellevue. The whole cohort was there from September until January to the end of January. And then from the beginning of February, we moved here to Porto. After Porto, by the end of April, we will be moving to Germany, east Germany, and then to Ireland. 

Coming to Porto was your first option?

The program is already set, so it's always with this travel path. But I was very excited about it because, as mentioned, this culture thing, it's a little bit closer to what I am used to, but also it has a different component and just being here right next to the Douro River and to the beach, to the ocean, actually, it's a completely different experience. I wanted to come to Portugal at some point in my life, even before starting the program, so that the program includes it. It's just perfect. 

Would you recommend someone doing a mobility program and what do you think are the main challenges? 

I would definitely recommend it to someone, I have actually already recommended it. 

Being outside of your country, studying something just really opens your mind a lot, so having this opportunity is almost like a dream come true. It's great learning in so many different cultures, getting outside of your comfort zone, having to change from one comfort to another is also part of the challenge. Looking for accommodation, learning new languages, adjusting to everyday life. It's actually different in each place but that's how you grow from this experience. 

Do you think Portuguese people are open to help and be open with people who are not native Portuguese? How was your experience getting used to the language?

So, it’s true that speaking Spanish helps a lot. I can read the language and understand most of it, not all, but most of it. Speaking is a little bit harder, but when I don't know something, I just say “Sorry, I don’t speak Portuguese”, and people have always been so far very open to help, sometimes they answer in Portuguese but making an effort so that I can understand, other times they would even speak Spanish or English. But I’m trying to learn, it’s part of the experience of studying abroad. 

Can you give some tips for people who are coming to Porto to do their mobility program?

Maybe just get the travel card (monthly metro/bus card) that has been important for me to travel around Porto. I would also say to enjoy all the good things that are really close to Porto, I mean all the villages and cities. You can get a really good price if you travel by train or bus!

What places or experiences would you recommend in Porto? 

The first would be walking by the river (in the part where the Douro River reaches the ocean). I find it very beautiful. Secondly, I would say the top of the Clérigos Tower and lastly a visit to Serralves. 

Sunset Douro River

Would you like to do an interview for the Portuguese OLS community and share about your mobility experience in Portugal?

Click here and let me know if you would like to participate!


I would like to thank Andrea for her time and great chat! Muito Obrigada!

See you,

 Juliane (Ju) OLS Community Manager

Last modified: Sunday, 21 May 2023, 2:46 PM