Eight Portuguese MSE Students Spent the Spring Semester at CMU
From January to April, 2011, eight students enrolled in the dual degree Professional Masters in Software Engineering (MSE) were in Pittsburgh to make their second semester in the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program. They spent the spring semester at Carnegie Mellon University before returning to the Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal, to complete the degree.
The MSE program is comprised of 16 months of both course work and a studio project. Students begin their studies in the fall semester at the Universidade de Coimbra, moving to Carnegie Mellon in the Spring. Upon graduation the following December, they receive a diploma from both institutions in Software Engineering.
Hugo Cabral is one of the eight students. The program is designed to expose students to a multi-cultural environment, thus strengthening their communication and leadership skills. As a newcomer the Carnegie Mellon campus, Cabral is embracing the experience.
“We have had a lot of opportunities [at Carnegie Mellon],” Cabral says. “There was a real sense of a lot of things happening here.”
The dual degree component also allows students to come in contact with a diverse array of teaching and learning styles. Many students, like Joao Osorio, find the program to be intensely challenging for this reason. Osorio says that his experience in the program so far has been “very different from both my previous studying and working experiences.”
The MSE Portuguese students participated in a tradition at Carnegie Mellon which involves a fence and paint. The fence is the most painted object on campus, and lies in the middle of the Cut, so it is visible to all students and faculty. The Portuguese students followed the tradition and painted the fence with the colors of the Portuguese flag.
A key aspect of the program is the studio project, which allows students to work closely with one of the Partnership’s corporate affiliates in developing and implementing a real-world project. Osorio and Paulo Patricio are currently working with Novabase, a provider of information technology services in Portugal, to develop a project called “Social Insight,” which aims to They will use the rigorous summer semester that follows their stay at Carnegie Mellon to focus on this project.
This relationship between the Partnership and its industry affiliates is an important part of the program. Many students find their way to the program having already worked at an industry affiliate; others find employment with industry affiliates through the program. Cabral, having come to the program as an employee of Portugal Telecom, will return to the company and act as an “agent of change.” Patricio has plans to work with Novabase upon graduation. Patricio also says that he would highly recommend this program.
“I have the chance to meet very different people,” he says. “Starting with the professors and mentors, going through all the support personnel and ending with the worldwide students.”