1 ERASMUS REPORT STUDY ABROAD PORTO, PORTUGAL September 14 January 15 Céline van Essen, s Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
2 A General report Host institution and exact dates of semester abroad I arrived on the 24 th of August in Porto. Even though my studies were only starting on the 3 rd of September, I wanted to get to know the city a little bit in advance. I would recommend this to everyone who is going abroad: to go at least one week before your studies are actually starting, because in this way you get to know a lot of people really fast through which you can get to know the place in the best way. On the 21 st of January I flew back home to the Netherlands. Things you have to prepare before you leave are the Learning Agreements with the courses, insurances and grants (OV card, Erasmus grant). Overall, I almost had no contact with the home faculty, because I did not encounter any problems whatsoever. However, beforehand the RUG was very helpful with preparing all the things that needed to be arranged. Accommodation Concerning the accommodation, this is relatively easy to find. You do not have to worry about this, there are a lot of places available. I myself arranged my accommodation beforehand, through a website (some sort of Kamernet.nl), which was perfect: a good location with very nice roommates. I paid 250 euros per month, including bills, which is an average for Porto. I had a room for myself, a big living room for my roommates and me, kitchen, bathroom etc., and two balconies. Most rooms cost in between euros per month, depending on location and the quality. One thing you should note that in Porto it is not always common to have a contract, so if you are interested in a room, make sure you have some sort of arrangement. There are also a lot of rooms available through Facebook (just look up E-houses Porto or Erasmus Porto). Most of the time there is a broad diversity of rooms: student houses, apartments or a place for yourself. I would definitely recommend to look at houses where you will live with other students, this makes the Erasmus experience even better. If you prefer not to book anything and see the room in person before you take it, you can also book a hostel for a few days first and visit some rooms. If you choose to do this, I would recommend to arrive a week (or more) before studies actually start: in this way you probably have enough to choose from. In Porto, there are several areas you can choose to live, depending on what you prefer. You can live close to the university (which is also right next to the Foz beach), close downtown or close to the river (Ribeira). As Porto is not as flat as the Netherlands, do not expect to ride a bicycle. It actually is even better to walk (especially in the first weeks), because you can slowly get to know the city.
3 I myself lived in a street Faria Guimarães, close to a central metro station Trindade. For me, it was a 15 minutes walk to downtown, which was fine for me. Actual downtown areas are Cedofeita, Aliados and Santa Catarina. If you find a room that is close to one of these places, you will live 5 minutes walk from the main things. If you live downtown, you have to take the bus to go to the university. This will take you around 30 minutes, which is doable. Note however, that in line with the Portuguese culture, bus drivers are not always on time; and occasionally they do not feel like working. It can happen that your bus will not show up. In this case you can choose to either take a day off or take a cab (around 7 euros in total, so cheap if you share). Moreover, you can also live close to the university. This has the advantage of not having to take the bus to go to school and having the sea around the corner. However, even though there are night buses (every hour), for going out it obviously is easier if you live downtown. The last area is living close to the river. The advantages are that there are some big houses available here and most of the time included with some amazing views. Though it is a little bit of a walk up for going downtown, if you don t mind walking this also is a really nice place to live. Reception and introduction The International Students Office at Católica was very welcoming. In line with all the Portuguese people, they really tried to make everyone feel at home, in which I think they succeeded well. In the introduction week there are several things organized for you to get to know Porto: surfing lessons, port wine tasting (good!), a BBQ, a river cruise and more. The first week will end with a dinner (and drinks) with both Portuguese and Erasmus students, which is a lot of fun. Also, together with more Erasmus students you get appointed a buddy, which is a Portuguese student, and he or she will help you with things you may need in the first weeks. My buddy turned out to be a great girl and she became a good friend. The fun thing is that all buddies and groups will mingle, through which you quickly will meet a lot of new people. Student life The student life in Porto is one of the best I have ever seen, which is probably due to the overall Portuguese culture. Once you will live here, you will learn that Portuguese people do not worry. At all. Time is pretty irrelevant to them (sometimes even at the university) and they do not care so much about rules. This is why I think stressed people should go here; the Portuguese will teach you how to relax. You can see this in the streets, restaurants, bars and surfing schools. One good example is Ribeira night. Approximately until the end of October, every Monday night, all the students buy a bottle of wine (2-3 euros) or Port wine and go to the river, called Ribeira. Over here, you talk, drink, enjoy the view, play some music and just have a good time together. Furthermore you have a lot of bars, pubs and clubs. With an ESN card, most of the time it s free to enter or around 2 euros with a drink. Whether you like rock, pop, techno or something else, you will have enough places to go.
4 Once you are in Porto you will easily find out the places you like. The common thing for both the Portuguese as the Erasmus students is to gather around 11pm at Adega which is a place with a couple of (Erasmus) bars. Here you can spend some time getting to know new people and having fun, mostly outside of the bars. Around 2/3, people go to the clubs! This is why it will be good to get used to the Portuguese dinner time (around 9 or later) which will give you enough energy for the whole night. There are a lot of things to do for leisure in Porto. Surfing at the beach Matosinhos (easy to reach by metro, 20 minutes from downtown), walking at Ribeira, shopping in the main street Santa Catarina, or just enjoying a glass of Port in one of the Port houses at Gaia (the area over the bridge). You have a lot of original Port houses here. One I recommend is Porto Cruz, which has a rooftop terrace and a glass of original port wine is 1,50! Another great thing is that the university is 5 minutes away from the Foz beach, or 10 minutes by bus from the Matosinhos beach. When it s still summer, this will allow you to enjoy the beach right after college, either by tanning, surfing or building a sand castle. Moreover, I would advise you to join ESN. This will cost you 10 euros for the whole semester. ESN organizes a lot of parties, trips, and with an ESN card you get discounts in several places. At last, I strongly recommend you to join the Facebook page Paw Pal, this is a small organization by two guys. They organize a lot of cool things every week, for a price for which you cannot do it cheaper yourself. They organize trips to Spain, hikes in the mountains, visits to the beautiful islands Islas Cies, etcetera. The good thing about this, compared to large organizations, is that they always keep the group small, which makes the trip more fun and easier. Weather The weather is one unpredictable thing in Portugal. In my semester, it was summer until the end of October, after which it slowly got colder and became winter. My winter was very sunny and 14 degrees on average, but it can also differ a lot. It may happen that you will have rainy stormy days, followed by sunny summer days. I d recommend to bring a strong umbrella, because the storms can be quite hard. Furthermore, in winter it may be 14 degrees on average, however it can get cold inside, since a lot of houses do not have a central heater. This causes it to be warmer outside than inside, so buy a nice sweater! Language One thing to note is that you shouldn t underestimate the Portuguese language. Portuguese people tend to pronounce things not very clearly, which makes it harder to learn than Spanish. However, in Portugal most people speak English well (especially young people) through which you won t have much problems getting around. Though if you would like to learn Portuguese I would recommend to learn a little basics in advance. You can do this by either taking a course or simply downloading an app (e.g. Duolingo). It is also possible to follow a Portuguese course at Católica. I did not do this, since it was 6 hours a week in the evening and reviews on this course were not that good. In general, Portuguese people do not mind if you speak English, however if you try to say some basics in Portuguese they highly appreciate it. I advise you to just learn a few things in advance, and when you arrive you will pick up more basics. Another tip is to look at the Facebook of Erasmus Porto, often there are some free lessons in Portuguese or cheap courses.
5 Grant Amount The Erasmus grant was 1000,- in total, of which you receive 700,- beforehand and 300,- after your period abroad. Furthermore, I received 90,- per month as a compensation for my OV card. Do not forget to arrange this in time! On the website of DUO there is information on how you can arrange this. Read this carefully, because it has to be arranged two months before your departure. Also, if you forget to disable your OV card, you will not receive this compensation. Living expenses The Erasmus grant is a good start for covering expenses, however it obviously does not cover all of it. Even though overall living expenses are a bit cheaper than in the Netherlands, chances are high that you will spend more than at home. In general, going out for dinner or drinks is cheaper than in the Netherlands. Supermarkets however are a bit the same, whereas fruits and vegetables tend to be much cheaper in the small markets. In order for you to use the bus and metro, you have to get an Andante card, which is comparable to the OV card in the Netherlands. The system works as follows: Porto is divided in several zones, of which you choose where you want to travel in. For instance, I wanted to travel within C1, C2, C3, which covers the area city, university and Matosinhos beach. I would say that you only need these three zones in order to get around where you want to go. If you want to go to another zone, you can just put money on your card and buy a single ticket. For three zones, you pay 27,- (including the student discount) at the beginning of the month and you can use the bus and metro unlimitedly within these zones. Note that the more zones you pick, the more expensive it gets. Your buddy can help you arrange this card the first time, after which you can arrange it yourself. Furthermore, using your phone is very cheap. Once you have the introduction week you will receive a free sim-card from the university. If not, you can get one at the ESN office. The costs for this are 8,- per month, which you pay in the store. For this you have 500 minutes to call, unlimited texts, 500mb and unlimited access to social media apps. Travel Besides your studies, you have a lot of times to see other places. Depending on what you like, you can visit cute little cities, the Douro Valley (where the best wine is being made), Nazaret and Peniche (surfing championships are being held here; a must go!), Lisbon, the island Madeira and more. You can either go with a group yourself or go on an organized trip by
6 ESN, depending on what you like. In general, to go to other places is relatively cheap. Often you can get discounts as a student, for either the train or when renting a car. There are even special flying tickets for Erasmus students, so remember to check this when you want to go somewhere. Study On the 3 rd of September the introduction week started. One week later, the actual studies began. From this point until the Christmas holidays you have lectures. After this you are free, so you have some time to study for your exams. Most of the exams are in January, but you can also have one in December already. The organization of the study program was fine. It however is less depending on self-studies as it is at the RUG, with more classes and longer lectures. In this sense, it is more comparable to HBO in the Netherlands. For me, the level of education was lower than in Groningen, but the lecturers are quite good in my opinion. However, for me the lectures were not that necessary since they covered the material relatively slowly, through which I managed to do it myself. Tutorials are quite helpful though, the teachers just try to solve questions with you; or show you how it must be done. I did not have any language problems in the courses since they were all taught in English. There are not as much study facilities in Porto as in Groningen. There are quite a few places where you can study, but I would definitely recommend you to take your laptop as these places are often occupied. Furthermore, downtown there are a few libraries you can freely access in case you wish to study at another place than home. In case you have any problems, the International Office is very helpful. You can just visit their office or them, and they will help you in the best way they can. I had five courses: Labor Economics, Economics & Public Policy, Managerial Economics, Development Economics and Marketing management. In general, these courses were very doable, if you attend the tutorials (and if it helps you, also lectures). You don t need to buy any books for these courses. With the lectures and the papers that the teachers will give you, you will have enough to cover all the material. There is a possibility to print at the university, however it is much cheaper at several places downtown with your ESN discount card. Overall, I would say Porto is one of the best cities in Europe. The people are extremely nice, relaxed and welcoming. I can assure anyone who will spend their semester studying in Porto that they will fall in love with it. The city is still very authentic in my opinion, which allows you to really get in touch with the Portuguese culture. The combination of the Portuguese lifestyle and the Erasmus experience makes the city feel like a second home. If you have any questions or would like to know more in general about studying abroad in Porto, feel free to me or send me a message on Facebook!
7 Specific report Host institution I spent my time abroad at Universidade Católica, the first semester. For the whole semester I had five courses, of which the lectures all started in September and ended in December. For each course, you get a 3-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour tutorial. As I mentioned in the general report, it is not necessary to buy any books for these courses, as the lectures and online material will cover it. Note that grades are given from 0 to 20, instead of 0 to 10. For each of the following courses, you have a 3-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour workshop. The number of lecture weeks is 10, the number of workshop weeks is 14. Furthermore, each course is 6 ECTS, of which Mr. Elhorst conducted the assessment. It really depends how much time you will need for each course. In the following sections, you may get an indication of whether a course suits you. However, I would say that for each course, if you attend the tutorials (and possibly lectures too, depending on your previous knowledge) you will not need to spend much more time on that course per week if you participate actively. Note that for each course you can choose to do either the continuous assessment or only the reseat (I recommend the continuous assessment). However, you can only do the reseat for a maximum of 24 ECTS. Labor Economics
8 This table shows you an overview of the lectures and which subject will be covered. The compulsory reading list is as follows, however as mentioned you do not have to buy this, as the teacher will make it available online. - Borjas, George J. (2008), Labor Economics, 4th ed. McGraw-Hill. (Bj) - Ehrenberg, R and R. Smith (2005), Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy, 9th ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. (E/S) - Lazear, Edward P. (1998), Personnel Economics for Managers, John Wiley & Sons, New York. (Lz) The course of Labor Economics discusses how the economic theory seeks to answer questions concerning: - How the labor market works - Labor supply and demand - Hiring and dismissal policies - Education and training - Compensation, incentive systems and motivation. For this course, you have two options on how to pass: through either the continuous assessment or the final exam in the appeal season. The continuous assessment includes two tests and solving suggested exercises during workshops. There are two midterms; of which the worst grade will be dropped. The grade for the midterm will account for 50% of the final grade. This course is relevant for the study program in Groningen, as there is a similar course (also called Labor Economics) at the RUG. However, at the RUG the course has more advanced
9 Economics & Public Policy This table shows you an overview of the lectures and which subject will be covered. There is not really a reading list for this course, as the lecturer will provide you with (topical) material. The main objective of this course is to stimulate the understanding the role of the Government. The course begins with an overview of the market failures and the need for Government intervention. After this, Government failures, the problems of democracy and collective action are covered. The central concern is the competitiveness and growth of the Portuguese economy. Several applications to the Portuguese economy are made, focusing on the role of the State in Portugal and on the need for structural reforms. Also for this course you can choose to either do the continuous assessment or the reseat exam. The set-up is exactly the same as for Labor Economics, with both midterms, exercises and a comprehensive exam (see Labor Economics above). This course is comparable to Public Finance given at the RUG, however much more focused on the role of the government and the Portuguese economy. If you like to learn about the role of the government and how this works in practice (in Portugal) I would recommend you to take this course.
10 Managerial Economics The relevant literature for this course is Baye, Michael R. and Jeff Prince, 2013, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 8th ed. However, again, you will probably not need this. If you do want have the book anyway, I advise you to look for a PDF version on the internet. Even though this may be another edition, it will be fine to cover all the exam material. In this course, you study the contributions that economic theory makes to the understanding of business organizations. The topics include business behavior in areas such as production decisions, pricing, incentive schemes and the characterization and analysis of the competitive environment. It is not indispensable, but previous knowledge of principles of economics and basic microeconomics are useful. Also for this course you can choose to either do the continuous assessment or the reseat exam. The continuous evaluation mark is composed of two elements: - Problem solving (40%) you get one point, up to a maximum of twenty, for each problem you volunteer to present in the workshops; however, if you volunteer and then show unable to present the problem, you lose 5 points; - Mini tests (60%) three forty-five minutes long tests; only the best two marks will count.
11 This course is relevant to the study program at RUG in a way that it is a follow-up on basic microeconomics, in combination with several economic theories. The good part about this course is that if you attend tutorials, you will learn-by-doing and only have to recap the material a little bit for the comprehensive exam.
12 Development Economics The relevant literature for this course consists of several articles, which are more for your own interest rather than mandatory. Again, the teacher will provide you with papers and lecture sheets, which are enough to cover all the material. In this course, you will learn to understand the core concepts and theories concerning development. The following concepts will pass: - Measures of development, poverty, and inequality. - Structural change. Development theories. - Growth theories. - Inequality and Growth - Theory and evidence - Market, Government, and Other Institutions. - Financing Development.
13 Also for this course you can choose to either do the continuous assessment or the reseat exam. This course is comparable to courses as History of Economic Thought and Growth, Institutions & Business given at the RUG, however it focuses more on getting a deep understanding of development theories and less on the writing of essays.
14 Marketing Management This course provides an overview of the marketing function, emphasizing marketing concepts and terminology. Marketing includes activities like analysis, planning, implementation and control of the actions that lead to value creation by means of the satisfaction of organization and market needs. In the beginning of the semester, you will form a group of four people. During the workshops, case studies will be presented and discussed in class, in order to illustrate marketing concepts and their scope of application. Program Week 1: Week 2: Week 3: Week 4: Week 5: Week 6: Week 7: Week 8: Week 9: Week 10: Week 11: Week 12: Week 13: Week 14: What is marketing Marketing role and the process of value creation The marketing environment Competitive analysis Segmentation and targeting Positioning and brand equity Product policy New product development and product life cycle Price policy Marketing channels management Placement policy Communication policy The mix of communication The marketing plan Again, you can choose to either do the continuous assessment or only the reseat exam. The continuous assessment consists of a comprehensive exam that accounts for 40%, and the continuous part (60%) is divided into participation, case studies, a mini test and a marketing plan. Case studies have to be presented in groups during the workshop classes. The best 3 grades among the case studies presented will be chosen. The marketing plan is an assignment that should be accomplished through the whole semester. The assignment will be presented to colleagues in class. To provide a clear overview: Comprehensive exam 40 % Continuous part 60% = 100 % Case studies 20% Participation in class 10% Marketing plan 45% Mini test 25% Or, you choose to do the reseat exam for 100%. This course is relevant for the RUG study program, as it is comparable to other Marketing courses given at the RUG, with a strong focus on presenting. This course might have the largest study load, as you have to do a lot of presenting and make a marketing plan. However, if you are familiar with basic marketing concepts you will not face much problems.
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