Internship experience in Porto

Aušra Česnauskytė
After I graduated Architecture in Vilnius Gediminas technical university I was feeling a little bit  confused which direction I should go and where to start my career. My aim was to try working in the field I already know and explore how many directions and possibilities it could have in the real practices. Basically, during the study years it was impossible to combine work and studies so majority of students who got the degree had very poor practical backgrounds and empty CV. Erasmus+ internship possibility made us feel much safer and more competitive searching for places we like to work and learn.
I had an opportunity to work  in Porto based architectural office MASS lab for three months. I chose them because I felt impressed by their projects, familiar with their sense of aesthetic and curious to see how it works from inside, being a part of it. Moreover, I already knew that offices in Porto have very strong influence of Porto school of architecture and Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura (worldwide famous architects) works. I felt that there I could get another completely different layer to my professional experience.
My expectations were not only fulfilled – I gained much more than I expected. The office was very young, it had around 12-15 people so we could easily follow each others works processes. People were full of initiatives and very positive, always tend to help, to explain and at the same time not afraid to let me face big responsibilities. During 3 months I was working on 6 projects conceptual parts always training my mind to solve more issues and give more spatial conceptual decisions. Even I had lots of freedom to design the way I like and believe,  we were always discussing together in the team and with clients. This kind of feedback was always encouraging to improve and expand my perspective of view to the projects.
Of course, I could not only grow  professionally, but personally too. Moving abroad alone to work it was already stepping out of my comfort zone. Another culture, lifestyle, social behavior brought fresh air to my mindset, let me know myself better, be more confident and inspired to create and explore even more. 
Thank you very much for this experience!


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