Exchange Report - Andreas Olofsson

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1 Exchange Report - Andreas Olofsson Name of the University: Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP) Exchange semester: Autumn, 2015 PRACTICAL INFORMATION Before leaving Sweden I received all practical information before my departure by from the international office at Católica. The information considers how to apply for courses, student activities provided by the school and some information regarding housing and paperwork that has to be sent in. The information includes most things you need to know, but you need to do a lot of research yourself to find accommodation. I entered several Erasmus Lisbon Facebook groups during the summer and I got a lot of help from other student and got in contact with a few of my upcoming classmates. Many students teamed up with others to find accommodation in these groups as well so entering these Erasmus Facebook groups is highly recommended. Travelling to Lisbon I arrived in Lisbon 22nd of august to have a few days of vacation and to find accommodation at site. Católica also had a mandatory information day at 28th August so most Católica students arrived around August 25th. I traveled with TAP, a Portuguese airline, that provides direct flights from Arlanda Airport to Lisbon Portela Airport. I paid about 230 euro for a oneway ticket, but I booked the ticket quite late. It is possible to go with other airlines as well, but usually you need to do stopovers before going to Lisbon. At times these flights are cheaper, but I preferred a more convenient alternative by taking a direct flight. A good thing with TAP is that they give students the possibility to travel with 10kg extra luggage. When you arrive at the Lisbon Portela Airport you can take a bus, the red metro or a cab to the city center in approximately minutes. Be aware of that taxi drivers, especially those driving to and from the airport, at times tries to cheat tourists with the prices. Go to the airports information desk and ask what a trip to the place you are going to approximately costs before jumping into a cab.

2 A good tip is to get a "buddy" through a buddy system provided by ESN, a student association, before your departure. You apply for a "buddy" online and the link to the application are posted around in Erasmus Lisbon groups on Facebook. The "buddy" I got did not help me at all unfortunately, but a "buddy" of a friend of mine helped us get our accommodation. Some buddies even picked student up from the airport when they arrived. Finding Accommodation The university does not provide housing, but sends out information and links to accommodation websites by . It was stressful to find accommodation on your own and difficult trusting the people who provided accommodation. There were a lot of stories about students being scammed and many people that tried to "help" students to find accommodation in Facebook groups sure did seem suspicious. So be careful when looking for accommodation, since there are scammers around and some accommodations are not as good as the pictures might show. I would suggest looking for accommodations where all expenses are included in the rent, since some friends of mine had to pay much more than they probably should have for gas, electricity and water in the end. Arriving to Lisbon As earlier mentioned, I found accommodation through a friends ESN Buddy, but I did not have a flat when I arrived in Lisbon. The first week I stayed at a hostel and contacted people providing housing so I could meet up with them and see the apartments with my own eyes before signing a contract. It felt stressful going to Lisbon one week before school started without accommodation, but in the end I got one of the best student accommodations around. I stayed in a flat with 12 other people at Avenida da Liberdade, near Marques de Pombal. It is a beautiful neighborhood and I would recommend staying near Marques de Pombal, since it is not too far from school, close to the city center and a safe area. I paid 320 Euro/month for my room, which was rather big and the price included Internet, gas, electricity, water and cleaning three times per week of shared areas. I would consider 320 Euros as very cheap for that kind of accommodation. However, the payment of the rents did not feel that safe since we had to pay the cleaning lady in cash every month. But these kinds of things was not uncommon in Lisbon from what I heard.

3 Costs of living Rent Books Food Transport 320 euro/month (all expenses included) 20 euro/total. More common to use articles and PowerPoint's to study Not sure, but buying from supermarkets and eating at restaurants is cheaper than in Sweden. Get discount cards from the supermarkets as soon as possible! 35 Euros/month for the metro card General tips You can get a lot of help from Erasmus organizations, such as ESN and ELL. These organizations are for any Erasmus student in Lisbon and becoming a member of one or both of these organizations is a good tip. The memberships costs 10 Euros, which is money that you will get back from free entrance at clubs, discounts at gyms etc. These organizations arrange trips to places like Porto and Algarve, Erasmus parties, helps students with finding accommodation, getting a Portuguese phone number etc. Trips The first trip I made was to Porto in the end of August with all the new Erasmus students at Católica and it was arranged by the International Club at Católica. Unfortunately the trip was not well organized so the people arranging the trip felt stressed and we spent a lot of time in the bus. It was still a nice trip where I got to know many of my new classmates and made a lot of new friends. Since the trip was not well planned by the organizers I went to Porto again in the end of November. It is a beautiful city to walk around in and I recommend going there at least once. I also visited Algarve in the south, which is a place you really should go to when the weather is still warm. Both ESN and ELL (the Erasmus Organizations) provides trips to Porto, Algarve etc. Another trip I made was to the Azores and I really loved this place. It has a beautiful nature and several great viewpoints to visit. Culture and language The professors and the Portuguese students were good at English, but most Portuguese people outside the university had very limited English speaking skills. In terms of behavior, I can say that I experienced the Portuguese people as very kind and helpful. However, I found them to be a bit lazy at times and usually not on time to meetings.

4 THE SCHOOL Católica is located in Lisbon near Laranjeiras (Blue metro) and Cidade Universitaria (Yellow metro) and it takes about 30 minutes to the school from the city center by metro. There are a lot of Erasmus students coming to Católica each semester and the school truly feel international. Católica is ranked as the best business school in Portugal and is placed quite high in the financial times ranking, which the school is extremely proud of. Course registration During the summer I received an regarding how to register for courses and the whole registration process is done online. I got all the courses I applied for, but had to exclude the language course (4.5 ETCs) since I had registered for too many ECTs. During the first week of school you are allowed to add/drop courses, which many students had to do since some of their courses overlapped. A good tip is to have some backup courses you are interested in just in case you might have to change a course due to overlaps. Arrival The school provides an introduction week with a few activities for new students and I liked going to these events, since it was easy to get to know new people. The introduction week was not as good as the once I have had back home, but they are okay and I suggest going to at least a few of these events. The International Office The International Office is located inside the main building of the university. This is the place where you deliver learning agreements and other papers that need to be signed and sent back to your home university. You can show up at the office during opening hours and ask for anything you might need help with. III. ACADEMICS Perception of classes The classes usually consisted of approximately 30 students mixed with Erasmus- and Portuguese students. The school is much more strict than home and lectures are usually mandatory, whereas teachers takes attendance. Missing out on these mandatory lectures do affect the grade negatively. Three of my teachers did not even allow any sort of electronics in

5 the classroom, including computers. I experienced that the quality and way of teaching in each course differed significantly and the quality was in general lower than in Sweden, but the workload was higher than at Uppsala University. This was a disappointment for me, since I did not expect such a high workload. It was stressful a lot of times and what I did not like was that the assignments we got were quite easy, but there was so many things to hand in all the time. Having six courses as I had with individual- and group assignments in each provides many deadlines and meetings so most students studying full time (30 ECTs) spent a lot of time in school. Perception of courses Organizational Behavior 6 ECT: The course had both theoretical and practical classes and the theoretical classes only runs for half the semester. I liked this course and the theoretical teacher had a good way of teaching and interacting with the students. Both the theoretical and practical teacher knew the subject well and was interesting to listen to and I liked how the course combined theoretical knowledge with more practical, real life examples. We were not allowed to use any sort of electronics in class. The grade was based on participation, group work + presentation and a final exam. The final exam was a multiple choice exam consisting of 20 questions. Global Marketing Management 5 ECT: This class was very strict and I did not like the class environment. We were not allowed to use any sort of electronics and we had unprepared quizzes several times, which was a big part of our grade. This created a lot of stress and I do not believe that the quizzes covered what was necessary for the course. The grade was based on quizzes, participation and a final exam. Information Management 5 ECT: This was a pretty interesting course that covered the importance of information systems in companies. However, the course felt a bit unstructured and there were a lot of assignments to hand in. The grade was based on two individual assignments, one group assignment and a exam.

6 Product and Costumer Management 5 ECT: This is a marketing course that was very unclear and unstructured. There are topics pretty much about everything and it is hard to understand what the real focus is. Students was graded weird and all student passed the course due to an overall high class performance, despite some students failing the exam. The grade was based on one group assignment, participation and an exam. You only use the PowerPoint slides to study for the exam. Organization Sociology 5 ECT: The grade was based on two midterm-exams, one group work and participation. It was a interesting course with a good teacher that knew the subject very well. It was easy to follow the course, since the teacher was very strutted. I learned a lot from this course and I would recommend other students to take it. Marketing in the new ERA 5 ECT: We had a few interesting guest speakers coming to some of the classes, but other than that it is not a interesting course. The course even ended as early as 28th November based on a very easy exam and a very simple group work. However, for some reason the final grades of all students in this was in general very low. On a final note, how will you sum up the exchange experience? I had a great time in Lisbon and I really love the city. There is a lot of things to do and the costs are low in comparison to Sweden. The beaches, the weather, the nightlife and the surfing is really something else and there is a lot of Erasmus students around so I met a lot of new friends during my stay. I learned a lot about myself during my exchange and I got memories for a lifetime and I strongly suggest anyone to go on an exchange! However, I was not impressed by the school and I believe that is was too strict and the quality of the lectures differed too much. Some teachers had no clear focus on their lectures and felt very unstructured, which made it hard to understand what we were intended to learn. It provided lots of stress when the exams were approaching, because it was hard to know what we were actually supposed to know and study for. I would unfortunately not recommend Católica as a great school for Erasmus students, due to the heavy workload and in my opinion lack of quality in terms of lectures. Lisbon as a city was amazing so doing an Erasmus in Lisbon through another school is probably much better.

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