Aarhus Universitets segl

Meet Carolina Aguiar from Portugal

Carolina Aguiar is studying a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Aarhus University (AU). She’s originally from Porto in Portugal and moved to Denmark after her bachelor’s. Here at AU, she highlights the informal tone with teachers and reseachers, the flexibility in course structure to follow your own interests, high-ranking research, the overall quality of life, and that she would like to stay, when the Master’s is complete.

Why do you study Electrical Engineering at Aarhus University?

"The flexibility the courses give you and the method with which we learn is just very important, I think. The programs are so well structured, and you have a lot of flexibility choosing the courses. I was able to choose some courses from mechanical engineering, which I really enjoyed and who have very nice teachers as well. And it was important for me since I am very interested in energy systems. There’s a lot of focus on group work and oral exams, which I find really good, since I learn a lot from it. And then there’s all the rest: the informal tone, the fact that all teachers are researchers and it’s very inspiring to learn about their research, and the social life is great"

Why did you choose to study electrical and computer engineering in the first place?

"I was one of those people who didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had no clue. Then I started looking into the things I enjoyed watching and reading about, and I really liked renewable energy and so, engineering was a way for me to follow this interest. None of my closest family members are engineers, so it was something completely unknown for me"

What were your thoughts about going abroad?

"I always knew that I wanted to go abroad. My father always travelled a lot and I think that inspired me. I always had the urge to go, so in my last year on my bachelor’s, I started to research my possibilities. It quickly became apparent that I wanted to go to Denmark. I think it is a nice place to be. My cousin is also living here In Denmark, and he informed me that the costs of living here are reasonable. And that you have a very high quality of life. Aarhus University has a very high focus on research and very good rankings and the master’s is in English. All of those makes it very hard not to come here".

Is it true, that the tone here is informal?

"Yes, very informal, and for me that was a very new thing. In Portugal you don’t have such informality with teachers. You can never call them by their first name. And for me it was a very nice surprise. That you just walk up to professors and talk with them in a friendly, informal way. I think it is a benefit when it comes to trying to understand what you’re learning. The fact that you can talk informally with a person makes it easier to understand everything, and you don’t have to be afraid to ask questions. And you can feel that they really want you to learn and to include you in the courses".

Is it easy to get friends here?

"All international students are in the same boat, so it’s super easy to get friends and there’s a lot of social activities and events and focus on doing things together, which I think is great. The Danish students are very nice and if you get to know their culture and meet up with them at Friday bars for instance, it’s also easy to get acquainted. I have Danish friends as well, and it’s nice to get to know the Danish culture that way".

What are your plans for the future?

"I would like to stay here in Denmark, when I’m done with my master’s. I am learning Danish now and if there are any opportunities, I would like to get a job here - maybe in the energy sector. I am open for a lot of things, but I have an interest in renewables and would like to work with that. And maybe later do a PhD, but I am not sure on that yet. We will have to see".