The international campus in IE University is always a huge draw for our students. Beyond broadening their horizons and preparing them for the real world of work, it allows them to form lifelong friendships with individuals from all over the globe.
This is something that Marta, a second-year student in the Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media, fully understands. Originally from Portugal, Marta came to the campus in Segovia to discover a whole new world was waiting for her here. Now in her second year, we sat down with her to talk about her time with us: studying, making friends, taking part in clubs and embracing everything IE University has to offer.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Marta Pereira da Cunha Coelho de Macedo. With such a long name, it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out that I’m Portuguese!
I am studying the Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media and I’m halfway through my second year. I am absolutely loving my classes this semester, with courses on events management, digital marketing, visual storytelling, corporate communication and different media industries.
I was born and raised in Porto, where I spent my entire life until I moved to Segovia last year to begin at IE University. They are very different places. Porto is much bigger and is by the sea, which I miss. That said, there is no place like Segovia to make friends and start such a frightening but exciting experience.
What has your experience at IE University been like?
I came to IE University last year and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. In fact, I count it as one of the best decisions I have ever made.
In the beginning, I was nervous about doing such a different degree, living without my parents for the first time and coming to what seemed like a rural village. But the campus in Segovia has exceeded my expectations and has become such a special place for me. There’s a vibrance and a sense of being at home which I cannot explain! As the city is still quite small and not overly urbanized, it was easy to make friends. No one lives more than five minutes away from each other and everyone meets in the same places. It makes socializing so easy and natural.
In general, all the students seem to love the city. Every time it is sunny your Instagram gets overwhelmed with sunset pictures in the hills where everyone gathers. And whenever I do feel the need to escape for a bit, I just hop on the bus to Madrid. It takes just one hour to become immersed in city life, with the endless food options and, of course, shops. I still have two more years left in my degree after this, but they will be in Madrid. I think this is perfect as it will mean Segovia will remain a special experience, and I won’t have the chance to get bored of it.
How would you describe IE University’s learning methodology?
My degree is more practical and creative than other programs and that’s really why I chose it. We frequently have more hands-on assignments in place of exams, which can range from essays and videos projects to drawings and presentations.
The professors are awesome, especially because they are able to provide the wealth of their experience in their really cool careers, as well as teaching us theory. Some of my teachers have worked for Sony and Disney and others have produced famous soap operas. Even better, the majority of them have their own successful companies. Class sizes are quite small, with 30 students maximum, which makes it easy to create a close relationship with professors. This was something I loved in high school and never thought I would find in college.
My favorite class last year by far was in design, mostly because I love art and drawing, but also because my teacher was incredible. I really felt like I learned a lot. We created the branding for the Tomorrowland festival, including amazing infographics, drawings and typographies. This year my favorite class is harder to choose—I really like them all! If I had to make a decision, I would probably say visual storytelling. In this class, we are learning how to create a compelling visual narrative, working on self-portraits and episodes for our own web series.
How do you feel about being an IE University student?
Proud is the word I would use. I feel proud to be in a campus where diversity is cherished, and everyone just knows and likes each other. Last year, my best friends were French, Colombian and Brazilian. This year, I have become super close to the Spanish and Latina girls too.
Everyone always talks about how international IE University is. This is not a joke or an overstatement—it really is true. With so many friends, I have countless open invitations to visit all over the world. I have already shown five people around Porto. My French is also getting much better. As my grandmother is French, I already knew some, but there is nothing like hanging out with French people to truly master it.
There are five Portuguese students in my year and some more in the year below. We regularly meet for dinner and it’s always super nice. I’ve gotten to know more people from Lisbon and become close with a girl from Porto. It’s been useful for whenever I’ve felt like I needed a little taste of home.
What opportunities have you had thanks to IE University?
The number of opportunities you get thanks to IE University is almost overwhelming. I want to take part in everything! Since starting university, I have taken three seminars: one on marketing, one on Microsoft Excel and one on Hollywood and feminism.
I am also the Communication Director of the Politics, Law and Economics club, where I develop content for their social media and events. I’ve started learning German and have also been taking Spanish for a year. On top of this, I’m also part of the Social Development Goals club, and this week we will be taking part in a community clean-up in Segovia. It’s such a cool initiative and is bound to to have a positive impact on the environment. I’m not going to take part in an exchange program until my fourth year, but I’ve already been looking at my options because I’m so excited. I will probably go to Australia or America, which I consider to be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. This summer, I am also hoping to take part in an internship at Parfois.
What tips would you give future students coming to IE University?
My main tip is to just take the leap and come. I find it very hard to believe that you wouldn’t like it! Come with an open mindset and be prepared to meet new people from different cultures and places. That way you can really embrace the diversity that makes IE University so special. I also recommend getting involved in as many clubs and projects as possible. Not only will they enrich your CV, they will also provide new opportunities to meet new people and engage with topics from your course in more detail.
Also, if you have a choice, come to Segovia first. Even if you are not a country person or if you do not like small cities, I promise you it will be worthwhile. You will find your IE University family here and it will be easier to meet new people than in Madrid. Besides, you will have plenty of time to explore the capital in the last two years of your degree. Finally, be open to meeting people that are not from your country. I love my Portuguese friends, but I feel I have learned and grown so much through meeting students from all over the world.
Marta represents much of what makes IE University so special. Her open mind and restless drive to get involved in various activities on campus contributes to our community and helps us stand out as a beacon of diversity. As she moves to Madrid for the final years of her program, she is sure to continue in this spirit of discovery, and we know she’ll do incredible things along the way.