Hello 🙂 My name is Jacqueline, I’m 27 years old and I’m living in Graz, Austria. It was clear to me from the beginning that I would spend my first Erasmus semester in Portugal. Since I already knew this country a little bit and I wanted to improve my Portuguese, I didn’t have to think long.
After initial difficulties, as the number was limited to two students for this university (thanks to Professor Vogl ☺), I got my desired place.
After a long time of thinking, I decided to take my dog with me on this adventure. Due to this circumstance, I went on my journey with my own car. My room in a shared flat was arranged by a friend who lives here in Setúbal.
I hardly ever had any problems with my dog, but the search for a room seemed very difficult. But then I got a super large, bright and fully furnished room in a huge, friendly shared flat. My dog was also very welcome here and we immediately felt very comfortable.
Right in the first week, even before the welcome week, I was very unlucky and my car window was smashed. But with the help of nice locals I was helped immediately. Therefore, also in case of setbacks, I was glad to have decided for this country. The friendliness of most people prevailed despite my bad experience.
The city itself can be explored very quickly, but there are many dream beaches on which one cannot drive often enough. However, this small town also has a lot to offer. We discovered the best restaurants where you can fill your stomach even as a student. We also discovered the local bars and clubs, so there was always something for everyone.
Then we had the Welcome-Week at the IPS – Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal. This is where we all met. There were very funny activities that helped us to get to know each other better. Of course the Meet Ups, which brought us together in the evening, also helped here (thanks to RaphaelJ).
My courses were all in English, which helped me a lot to improve my English. Most of the courses were very interesting. The teachers were very enthusiastic and helpful. Furthermore, we always had our Erasmus “Mummy” (big thanks to Ana Dias) at our side if there were any questions or anything else. But also the teachers were always there for you, if you needed help, even if it was out of school things.
We were also allowed to do the practice in a primary school. It was only possible for us to observe, but this was very interesting.
We were in the Primary School EB1 Praceta da Lanchoa, 2910-578 Setúbal. Yeah, what can you say about that? It is different from any other cases. It starts with the fact that there is no website of the school. However, everyone was extremely nice and concerned about us.
The lessons were in Portuguese. I saw altogether:
- 2 hours of General Education with Art Education.
- 7 hours of Mathematics.
- 6 hours of Portuguese.
What I noticed right at the beginning was that there was no entry or similar. In the one second there is still chatting, in the next already counting. The only ritual they had was that the teacher wrote the place, the date and the weather on the blackboard, which the children copied in handwriting. Unfortunately there was no appealing board picture, the letters were very confusing, which did not disturb the children at all.
Most of them were able to read already connected. I was in a first grade and the children were already counting with algorithms. They wrote two-digit numbers below each other and added them correctly. Sometimes there were assistant teachers who looked after the children with SPF.
What I found very beautiful was that all children were together, even physically handicapped children. The atmosphere during the lessons was usually very relaxed, but sometimes it became very loud, and the teacher screamed. After that the children were immediately quiet.
The children worked through from 9.00 to 11.00, without a break. But everything went very well. After that there was a 30 minute break. Then 1.5 hours were worked through again, which seemed to me a very long time. In the afternoon it went on after 1.5 hours break.
Again and again people came into the class during the lessons. Most of the time there is pure frontal teaching, but the teacher lets the students find out things themselves. Here she asks a question in the room.
Once we all went to the other first grade and there the children heard a story. Which, however, was also very long. But it was very interesting to see how differently you can do this job.
All in all, I can only say that this decision was the best of my life and I am already thinking about when and where to go next.
Author: Jacqueline Kreuzer.