Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Maraschin Bruscato


Amanda studies Languages (Portuguese and Spanish) and Pedagogy in two Brazilian universities and is a teacher in two schools.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I study to be a teacher, and I am interested in how education works in different countries. I speak English and have a family in Northern Ireland, so the program was really interesting for me. My dream is to take my PhD in Europe, and this was a good opportunity to know the university and the professors.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I received a Santander Scholarship for the course. I had to pay for the flight from Brazil to Northern Ireland, my accommodation, food, and everything else. As I have previously mentioned, I have a family in the country, so I only had to pay for the flight. The course included field trips and lunch (sandwich) for the field trips.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Read the texts. Go to every class and activity. Be prepared to study a lot; it won't be easy. Make friends. Talk to the professors. Ask your questions. Bring money to buy clothes – they are really cheap (at least compared to Brazilian prices). Enjoy your time, and be prepared for rain and summer at the same time.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The program has a lot of classes and field trips. You don't have time during the week to do anything else. On the weekends, you just want to relax. Classes usually start at 9:30 AM and finish at 4:30 PM with one hour for lunch from 1 to 2 PM. It is a very nice program, but really intense at the same time.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was about my knowledge of English. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to communicate well or really understand what the professors were saying. However, nothing of that happened! I did the IELTS test during the program and got an 8 band, so I had no reasons to be afraid of the language.

What was your favorite moment of your program?

My favorite moment was when we went on a field trip to a forest and made a camp fire. It was awesome! It was my first time seeing a camp fire and eating marshmallows and being in a forest. I really enjoyed it, and I would like to do it again in the future.