Back with experience, memories and more

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Three students have returned from Porto, Portugal after completing their academic exchange programme. They share their learnings and more, with NT KURIOCITY

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITY

The Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts & Science started an academic exchange programme with international universities since 2017. These collaborations extend to universities in Japan, Portugal and Sweden. For the academic year 2019-20, three students namely Srushti Prabhudesai, Amanda DCosta, and Charmaine Pereira went on an academic exchange programme to the University of Porto from Chowgule College last September. They returned recently in mid-August. Students of BA in English and Portuguese, Prabhudessai and DCosta completed their second year there while Pereira did her third year in English.

The academic exchange programme lasts for six months or a year. Depending on the stream and subject combination, the student can register for the exchange programme on transferable credit basis. Once the student is accepted, their applications are sent to the partner universities. Following admissions, the students attend the classes for one full semester (six months) or a full year at the partner university before returning home.

DCosta chose this particular academic exchange because she was studying Portuguese. Thus going to Portugal, she decided, would be a huge bonus. Plus, she had heard that Porto is a beautiful place. “Porto is a beautiful city, every memory made there was an amazing one. The Luis Bridge was my absolute favourite place there. We learned so much through the course of that one year. The people were amazing and we got to see how the other half of the world lives,” she says, adding that it was definitely an adventure, and she is really glad she went. “The company was awesome, as was the place, the people, and even the food. The college was really good too, and the experience all in all, was wonderful.”

And having left when life was normal, DCosta further says that the pandemic did affect a lot of plans they had. Getting back home was a little dicey too, but they managed. “Due to the pandemic, the situation in Porto kept fluctuating. Our initial flights back were cancelled and procuring another flight back was pretty hard. Lots of forms had to be filled, we had to take the COVID test before we got on to the flights, etc,” adds DCosta, whose future plans aren’t set in stone yet. As of now, she says, she just wants to complete her third year.

Prabhudessai meanwhile decided to go there because she had always been intrigued by the culture of the land. “I must say, the entire experience was absolutely amazing! Right from the warm people, catchy music, delicious food, to the picturesque landscapes and rich traditions, the entire experience has left a permanent mark on my heart. I also got the chance to learn plenty about other cultures from international students,” she says.

At Chowgule’s, she says, they make more use of Google Classroom as they upload their work online most of the times whereas in Porto, most of it was submitted in the form of hard copies. But in the second semester due to the pandemic they had to use online platforms to submit their work. “Apart from this there wasn’t much of a difference,” she says. “The college hours were much longer though.” As of now Prabhudesai also does not know what she wants to do in the coming years. However, she is hopeful that after her final year in college she will have more clarity.