Patrícia Oliveira in Latvia:

[On the left: Patrícia Oliveira in Stockholm, Sweden. On the right: Liepaja, Latvia.]
Year of the “Mobility Experience”: 2010/2011.
Home institution: ESAD.CR, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal.
Course: Graphic Design.
Host institution: Liepaja University, Liepaja, Latvia.
Course or field of study: Arts/Computer Arts.

[On the left: Liepaja, Latvia. On the right: Classmates.]

Why did you choose this school?
It was a random choice. I was placed at the end of the list of “Out Going Students”, far below that I expected and I didn’t had a lot of choices. At the time we had talked to a guy who had been there who informed us that the environment was nice and that life was relatively inexpensive (anyway it was not the case…).

Did you like the school?
For those who like to go back to the old arts school is perfect. I did not loved it but it was good to feel the artist spirit again. I liked the falling buildings, auditoriums for painting in sight… But it depends on the cases, because buildings are divided into courses, the main building was in very good condition!

How far was the school from the city and from accommodation?
The main building is in the center of the city. In relation to accommodation is about 15 minutes walking (arts building).

Your field of study is well developed in the school?
Not really, we had the feeling that all we did was very good compared to others. But I think they try, but as there were not the most worked areas there, I think they do not bother to improve the quality of the work.

Besides Graphic Design, what areas of study are developed in this school?
I think a little of everything.

[The rented house where I stayed.]
How did you relate to native teachers and students?

The teachers were the people who most helped us! With colleagues we had some communication problems, they are afraid of speaking English (as a whole is a city in which they speak little English), so there was this communication barrier.

This school is “ideal” for…
Courses involving video and Humanities.

Other information/experiences about the school:
Learning to speak by gestures!

Where did you stay?
I stayed in a rented house.

How far was the house from the school? And from the city?
From the school: 15 minutes walking. From the city: it was in the center.

Did it have good conditions?
Excellent, was the best house I had! But I changed it once before I have this; the first suffered much from cold and bad kitchen conditions.

How much it cost?
120 Lts = 160 Euros.

Other information/experiences:
Students should look for houses before get involved in trouble as we did.

[On the left: Liepaja, Latvia. On the right: The city of Liepaja has a lot of cats around.]

What did you think of the city?
It is a miniature of Caldas da Rainha city. I did not like a lot because after having spent one month in the capital, all that is below is difficult to accept in Erasmus.

Did you experience difficulties with the language?
Yes, some. But still we have learned the basics to guide us. We tried to explain us in English.

[On the left: Funny shugar. On the right: The first dinner.]

Did you like the food?
It is not very rich, is always the same, but good!

How was the standard of living?
It was low for the insiders, high for the outsiders.

[Two pictures on the: Stockholm, Sweden. On the right: Riga, Latvia.]

Did you visit other cities/countries?
Yes: Lithuania, Stockholm (Sweden) e Riga (Latvia).

What do you think are the major cultural differences?
On gastronomy and climate there are features that shape the cultural differences, such as meal times, the personality of the people, more calm, shy and reserved.

Did you receive a grant?

[On the left: A bath at 10 degrees. On the right: A boat trip with friends.]

Did you friendships with natives?

Do you plan to go back?
One day. But will not be the first destination of choice.

What do you think that this experience brought to you in the personal and professional level?
Learning to accept other ways of living and socialize. Learning to communicate with people that speak a different language from ours.
I had more time to learn things on a professional level that would not have time in Portugal.

[On the left: Liepaja, Latvia. On the right: The best coffee in Riga, Latvia.]

Did you experience some adventure or strange situation you’d like to share?
We were stolen in the first house in which we had stayed. We almost called the police. Well, but there are bad things that come for good, after we had the good fortune to go to one of the most beautiful homes houses we’ve seen.
Also out on an adventure to Lithuania by car and at 70 Km away we had a flat tire in the truck. There are good and bad experiences, but they are all caricatures!

A recommendation for future “Mobility Students”:
Go with an open mind! Is not the best city in the world but we are received with the greatest kindness that can exist!
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