Eduardo Lopes in Birmingham, England:

IT WAS FUNNY TO SEE HUNDREDS OF RESIDENTS GETTING OUT THE STREET IN PAJAMAS, IN A CRAZY RUNNING FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER, BECAUSE SOME WERE SEEING SNOW FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES.

[On the left: Eduardo in London. / On the right: Eduardo in Dublin.]

Year of the “Mobility Experience”: 2010/2011.
Home institution: ESAD.CR, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal.
Course: Industrial Design.
Host institution: Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD), Birmingham, England.
Course or field of study: Product Design.

Why did you choose this school?
There were no major reasons. First I have chosen the country and in England I had two options: Birmingham and Nothingham.

Did you like the school?
Yes, I liked. The facilities were good.

How far was the school from the city?
The school is located in the, so-called, “City center”.

[On the left: The front of the Institute. / On the right: BIAD]

Your field of study is well developed in the school?
Yes it is. At both: workshops (wood, metals, polymers) and in the teachers level.

What other areas of study are developed in this school?

The study areas mostly developed are: Design (Product, Interiors, Fashion, Textile and Graphic), and Architecture (general and landscape).

How did you relate to native teachers and students?
My relationship with teachers was always very good. They did everything to make a person feel well. My fellow natives were always very polite to me but never showed any interest in knowing why I was there or not.

[On the left: Painting Room. / On the right: Wood Workshops.]

This school is “ideal” for… who likes to produce full-scale prototypes. The workshops were very well prepared and the students did not have had to pay for any of the materials used. The school provides long industrial boards/blocks of wood and metal, ink, and small materials like screw, etc.

Where did you stay?
I stayed in one of the student residences – The Coppice.

How far was the residence from the school? And from the city?
The residence was more or less at about 3 km from town and 4.5 km from school.

[On the left: My project for “Display and Packaging”. / On the right: My room.]

The residence was good?
Yes, no doubt.

How much did it cost?
Around £87 (€ 100) per week.

Other information/experiences:
The residence is a neighborhood of 11 buildings. A sort of private condominium with gym, pavilion, sports and a grass soccer field on the outside. The buildings (of 2 or 3 floors) are divided into flats of 6 bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. The laundry and the security room are in a small building in the center of the neighborhood.

[On the left: My room. / On the right: The Coppice with snow.]

What did you think of the city?
The city itself is not pretty. It is a great city whose center is almost exclusively “pedestrian”. The only nice part in the city center is called Channels of Birmingham, some creeks that intersect at various sites in the city.

The only time that the city is beautiful and which gives pleasure walking through it is at Christmastime. Every year it happens the familiar German “Christmas Market”. The market occupies the entire center of every city, there is a bit of everything of handicrafts and is a place where you can eat and drink traditional German products.

Did you experience difficulties with the language?
In the beginning I had great difficulty with the language, due to the fact that when I went there my English was almost null. But thanks to the friends I have made there and the support of my teachers, I improved a lot and now my English is reasonable.

[On the left: Christmas Market. /On the right: Small bar in the Christmas Market.]

Did you like the food?

Gastronomy is a too strong word to describe what we eat there. Food is in large part based of fried food. And people do not stop for lunch at noon. It is seen a lot of people walking through the streets to eat sandwiches and hamburgers. The cafeteria was a part almost non-existent in the school; it was largely being used to eat sandwiches and other fast foods.
I could enjoy a large amount of Indian cuisine. =)

How was the standard of living?
The standard of living was pretty good.

Did you visit other cities?
Yes, I was two days in London. Where has been sunshine and heat, which is funny if you know the bad weather’s reputation of the city.

What do you think are the major cultural differences?
The main difference is the origin of the plurality of persons. It is a country with a large number of emigrants. Mostly Indians, there were Indians since the security employer of the residence until the teacher of Informatics, passing for the bus driver and the cashier of the supermarket.

Other information/experiences:
I had lucky and the possibility to go to Edinburgh, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland. From Birmingham, travel back and forth, never crossed 20 €.

Did you receive a grant?
Yes, I was the third highest ranked of my course.
Although the grant only have payed housing, it was a great help. Help without which I could not had the opportunity to have this experience.

Did you make friendships with English people?
I have made a very few friendships with English people. People are not welcoming and they do not feel a need to know what you do or who you are.
In contradiction, I have made great friendships with other ”international students”. Friends of countries such as Germany, Slovenia, India, France and Hong Kong.

Do you plan to go back?
I liked a lot. I am trying to arrange a meeting there with the people who lived with me.

[On the left: Dublin – Ireland. / On the right: Edinburg – Scotland.]

What do you think that this experience brought to you in the personal and professional level?
It brought a lot. On a personal level it made me meet people and different cultures, different ways of perceiving life and discovering new countries through people I met. At the professional level allowed me to learn another work method and a different way of looking at what exists in my field of study.

Did you experience some adventure or strange situation you’d like to share?
In 2011, the first time I saw the sun was on January 3. Therefore in the winter the day darkens around 3:45 pm. It happened that in the 1st day I woke up at 4pm and it was already night, in the 2nd day I woke up earlier, I just went to bath and the sun had gone again…

Another situation was on my birthday, it began to snow at midnight right. It was funny to see hundreds of residents getting out the street in pajamas, in ​​a crazy running from one side to the other, because some were seeing snow for the first time in their lives.

A recommendation for future “Mobility Students”:
Simply enjoy. It is a unique experience and is difficult to explain how much enriches a person. I recommend students to have no fear of anything. Meet different people and cultures is always a positive experience.

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Alexandra Fonseca in Nottingham, England:
LEARN HOW TO HAVE BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND PLAY AND YOU WILL HAVE THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIVES.

[On the left: Photoshoot Pit & Pendulum, May 2012, Marquet Square. On the right: October  2011, Nottingham Trent University.]

Year of the “Mobility Experience”: 2011/2012.
Home institution: ESAD.CR, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal.
Course: Interior Design.
Host institution: Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England.
Course or field of study: Furniture and Product Design BA

[On the left: October 2011, The Great Egg Race –1º Prize, NTU. On the right: October 2011, Student Card.]

Why did you choose this school?
I chose this University for its prestige, for its competitions, prizes, facilities and the available equipment in the workshop.

Did you like the school?
I loved it.

How far was the school from the city?
Its within the city, it’s a 5 min walk from the center.

Your field of study is well developed in the school?
Yes.

[On the left: February 2012, Workshops NTU. On the right: March 2012, Main Project- upholstered stool.]

What other areas are well developed in this school?
Several namely: Accounting, finance and economics; Animal, Equine and wildlife; Architecture and civil engineering; Art and Design; Business, Management and marketing; Computing, Engineering, Maths and other technologies; English, History and philosophy;  Geography, Horticulture and environment; Languages and Linguistics; Law, Criminology and justice; Media, Journalism and communication; Politics and international studies; Property, Construction and surveying; Psychology, Sociology, Health and social care; Sciences including sport sciences; Teacher training, Education and childhood and youth studies.

How did you relate to native teachers and students?
It wasn’t difficult. There was a great concern from all the teachers and staff at NTU about my wellbeing, inside and out of the university. Everybody was very welcoming and always willing to help if there was some kind of problem.

This school is “ideal” for…
Expand our qualifications and be recognized by the produced work. Learn new teaching methods, while developing a good, healthy and friendly competition between colleagues. And it’s ideal to open our mind to new ways of looking and think.

Other information/experiences:
One of the big strengths on my course in this school is that it possesses great workshops with all the necessary technicians and equipment for the development of projects, always with high standards of security so the risks are minimal. 90% of the materials used to develop projects are free (given by the university).

[Residende.]

Where did you stay?
On a private residence for Erasmus/exchange students.

How far was the residence from the school? And from the city?
From the residence to the University/City Center was about 15/20 min by bus, sometimes less.

The residence was good?
Yes.

How much did it cost?
It was 130 £ for a week.

[On the left: Chicken pie with mashed potato and yorkshire pudin. On the right: Breakfast, NTU]

Other information/experiences:
My residence wasn’t one of the cheapest ones but it had all the conditions for my safety and well being. It was a room with a private bathroom with a TV and Internet. The kitchen was on the ground floor and I shared it woth 5/6 more people. The common areas were also on the ground floor and it consists in a big living room with 3 tv’s and a bunch of sofas and tables.

What did you think of the city?
I thought that it’s a magnificent city not only for its history but also for its culture and people.

Did you experience difficulties with the language?
I always loved the English language so it was easy in the end.

Did you like the food?
I got used to it pretty quickly. They are not known for their gastronomy but it’s not that bad, I actually thought that is was good. Different but good, and I end up enjoying what they had to offer.

How was the standard of living?
For a student that comes from Portugal to England it’s quite expensive.

[on the left: April 2012, Center of Nottingham Marquet Square . On the right : June 2012 | London, Camden Street ]

Did you visit other cities?

I visited Shakespeare hometown and Camden Street in London. I also had the change to go to Alton Towers and to the Cadbury world.

What do you think are the major cultural differences?
The major difference is the gastronomy. There is also the work schedules (they work less hours then in Portugal), most businesses close between 17.00 and 18:00, that way spending more time with their families.

Other information/experiences:
There is a good balance between work and play, because they work less time therefore they are available to do different things and they have the willing to enjoy life.

Did you receive a grant?
Yes.

Did you make friendships with English people?
Yes.

[July, Rock City.]

Do you plan to go back?
Yes, I’m hoping to go back this year still, in September or October to do my Post Graduation Course.

What do you think that this experience brought to you in the personal and professional level?
Personally I think it was an unforgettable experience, I worked a lot, with a great desire and effort and on the other level I had a lot of fun. Professionally I feel like I have more qualifications and skills do develop new projects.

Did you experience some adventure or strange situation you’d like to share?
There were a lot of adventures and strange situations but I clearly remember the night when me and my friends decided to go out and it started to snow heavily. We were at Pit and Pendulum for some drinks as we were celebrating a friend’s birthday, everyone that arrived after me was soaking wet and angry about it. I only saw snow once in my life and I couldn’t remember very well so I was the only one who was really happy. That happiness ran out pretty quickly as we found out that we were stuck in the city center and all the public transports weren’t working because of the snow. But the amount of snow didn’t stop us of having fun; we managed to get to rock city and had a great night. In the end we all got home safe, wet and with sore bums.

A recommendation for future “Mobility Students”:
Learn how to have a balance between work and play and you will have the best time of your lives.

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Isabel Henriques in Birmingham:
I LEARNED A LOT FROM WORKING PROCESSES, PARTICULARLY IN FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY: THE INTERACTION WITH MODELS, IMAGE EDITORS, STYLISTS, HAIRDRESSERS, MAKEUP ARTISTS…


[On the left: Isabel Henriques – school project by Rute Leonardo. On the right: Birmingham.]

Year of the “Mobility Experience”: 2011.
Home institutionESAD.CR, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal.
Course: Fine Arts.
Host institution: Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD), Birmingham, England.
Course or field of study: Visual Communication.

Why did you choose this school?
Someone already had told me it was a good school. I began to see the courses and it seemed very interesting. The courses were much targeted to the area I chose.

Did you like the school?
I liked it, but there were things that I thought did not work well in terms of human resources. Some people were unfriendly, for example in the photography workshop (one of the areas I worked more), but in general they were nice!


[Fashion Photography – school project.]

How far was the school from the city?
In total 15 minutes (10min. by train and the rest of the time on foot).

Your field of study is well developed in the school?
I think so, but at the same time, the fact that there is specialization the briefings turn to be very limited.


[Birmingham, England.]

Besides Visual Communication, what areas of study are developed in this school?
From what I can remember… textile design, product design, animation, photography and video, architecture and fashion.

How did you relate to native teachers and students?
I gave myself very well with the teachers, especially after a trip we did in the second week after we arrived, at Lake District (a trip to try landscape photography) and to know the places. Here we also know some colleagues in the same area and also others from Erasmus.


[A school trip to Lake District (North West England) to try landscape photography.]

This school is “ideal” for…
…personal growth in the sense that we gain more autonomy, because there we are a bit ignored and we must do for ourselves.

Other information/experiences about the school:
When we entered the school it looked like we were in a hospital (we are accustomed to other types of architecture). It reminded me ESAD.CR, workshops as we have with enough quality, for example, there is room to make a video with “chroma” green that had a very useful device to capture motion; the photography studio was bigger, that is, it had several rooms in one. We had a security course to work in the workshops, but there are certain common sense things that could be prevented, I think.

It seems that they give more importance to the concept than to the realization: the teachers do not teach techniques and sometimes they said “You can pay a photographer if you cannot do by yourself”. What matters is the end product.

Where did you stay?
I stayed in a place called Selly Oak, I rented a room in a house that belongs to a student that in the same year came to ESAD.CR. I went to his place.

How far was the apartment from the school? And from the city?
It is 20min. from school and 10min. from downtown. I have made ​​the trip by train.


[On the left: Selly Oak Park, Birmingham. On the right: Interesting decoration in Birmingham.]

The apartmentwasgood?
Yes, it was small but was very comfortable and warm.

How much did it cost?
216 pounds (without including additional costs).

Other information/experiences:
“Carpet Every Where!” I do not think it is very hygienic.

What did you think of the city?
It is very industrial. The only part I liked was the parks and the “canal”.


[Some places in Birmingham, England.]

Did you experience difficulties with the language?
Only in the beginning because I had to concentrate in speaking only English. I improved a lot my English.

Did you like the food?
The gastronomy is very bad. The only thing I ate there was “Fish and Chips,” I did not like. I started to like beer because of the cider (apple beer) – it is not bitter like regular beer. I cooked cod with cream to kill nostalgia, it has has been the best food I ate while I was there.


[On the left: Glasgow, Scotland. On the right: Edinburg, Scotland.]

How was the standard of living?
It depends. It had things cheaper and other more expensive than in Portugal. The market was much cheaper. It was a good place to save.

Did you visit other cities?
Yes – Lake District, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.


[Liverpool, England.]

What do you think are the major cultural differences?
“iPad” culture! It seems like life is concentrated on iPhone/iPad. For example a concentration of people caught when was the release of iPad 2.

Other information/experiences:
The expectations were too high for what I experienced, especially in London…

Did you receive a grant?
When I was there I did not receive a grant. But after closing the accounts of the year, I could receive it.

Did you friendships with natives?
Yes, some people, especially a guy who lived in the same house with me.

Do you plan to go back?
Yes I liked, but maybe London, to see if I changed my mind!


[On the left: London Market by Tânia Carvalho. On the right: The House of Parliament and the Big Ben.]

What do you think that this experience brought to you in the personal and professional level?
I think somehow I became a little more open and more comfortable socially. What might help me a lot professionally in the future. I learned a lot from working processes, particularly in the area where I did a fashion photographic work. The interaction with the models, image editors, stylists, hairdressers, makeup artists, etc. I interacted with people of “Model Mayhem” (http://www.modelmayhem.com/), in this website there are professionals in various areas and levels. The ones with zero experience who want to create a portfolio and not charge anything beyond the costs they may have, in return we give the photos on CD-ROM or print; and also professionals who charge for the job.

Did you experience some adventure or strange situation you’d like to share?
On the Gay Day Parade, I found funny a few “outfits” that they used.

A recommendation for future “Mobility Students”:
Do not go with too many expectations. Give time to time, we have to adapt to space and situations. There is always a bright side to everything!

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