The city of Porto is a blend of the old and the new; a fusion of the traditional with the current and alternative. The historic hue of the city, comprising streets, squares and buildings, shows off Porto’s older and more worn outside, contrasting greatly with iconic structures and imposing itself upon the city’s urban landscape, often being the subject of our eyes’ gaze as we promenaded around the city. Porto boasts an authentic character that its World Cultural Heritage mark only reinforces. Other highpoints come in the form of Portal’s industrial heritage, the rural areas which blend together with the idyllic countryside, and the diverse and contrasting communities which defines their surroundings. The experience, no matter how big or small, either alone or with friends, is always passed on, repeated or shared.
Following a tradition started in 1998, this year’s Student and Young Professional Congress in the field of Engineering was to take place in Porto. Portugal marks 20 years of celebrating young Region 8 participants in style; offering the best of training, networking , technical insights and cultural exchange. It is the ultimate experience to ensure that the future leaders of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) have all the knowledge they need to be successful. Hundreds of participants enjoy this event every two years. I happened to receive a fully funded travel grant for this event this year. I definitely have a story to tell.
The congress aimed at the following:
- Providing a prestigious international forum offering presentations (I was glad to participate in this), workshops, discussion groups and other activities of interest and value to all participants.
- Promoting the benefits of IEEE membership generally, particularly the Student and Graduate Student member grades.
- Contributing to the development, progress and welfare of countries in the European Region by disseminating technological knowledge and experience in the relevant IEEE Fields.
- Encouraging the study of technology and its applications in a broad social and human-centric context.
- Enabling participants to in the region to develop mature self-imaging IEEE entities by accepting the responsibilities of major event organization.
The impact of the Congress yielded effective collaboration amongst the participants and organizers using the forums created, active participation of all participants in local activities during the workshops held and plenary sessions, more awareness on IEEE and its benefits, Partnerships with industries such as BLIP, Nano Technology, IEEE Collaboratec, Microsoft, Photonics and the like.
Personally, with the knowledge from Nano Technology and photonics, I have developed an urgent need to think of a filtering system that can be fixed within the human body to separate cancerous cells form normal cells such that when chemotherapy is administered, only cancerous cells are killed so the person does not have to die completely then regain his strength back. This when developed can be used in the cancer institute-Mulago and world-wide. I don’t know how long it can take but I just cannot wait for Ugandans to think together and embrace this.
The technical and technological purposes were met but I enjoyed the social and economic bit of it. Below this text I describe where and how I spent the evenings on each of the days.
24th July 2018: The Beach
On Arrival in Portal, I started my week with an adrenaline boost. I had surfing classes and struggled through the waves still I could stand. There were some beach games too like football and volleyball. I love the ending.
25th July 2018: Sunset by the Beach
Praia da Luz, whose literal translation would be Beach of Light, is a fantastic place to breathe the summer breeze and watch the waves pass by. Because Portugal is, in a big part, surrounded by water and since they have warm weather, the beach is a popular place to spend some time relaxing and take time apart from the busy city. I took my sunny mood to watch the sun set on the water, sang and danced along to a few summer hits, and enjoyed fancy snacks and drinks.
26th July 2018: Gala Dinner
The Palacio da Bolsa, a Portuguese National Monument located in the historical center of Porto, was built on the ruins of the Saint Francis Convent and it is classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The great monument has excellent conditions to host the most varied kinds of event, from concerts to international meetings welcoming the most illustrious visitors, like Monarchs, Presidents or ministers. Currently it is the most visited monument in Northern Portugal. This day I knew it was time to get fancy, put on one of my best formal dresses with matching shoes ready to dance. You can almost tell what happened after this.
27th July 2018: Portuguese Dinner
Dr. Antonio Cupertino de Miranda Foundation was created in 1964 and renamed after a renown Portuguese banker that valued education and cultural enrichment. The building situated in Boasvista Avenue features a Paper Money Museum, a famous quality restaurant and recurrently holds cultural events, such as congresses like this one, temporary exhibitions, concerts and debates. I had to eat less during the day so as to reserve space for Portugal’s mother’s soul food. There was a wide range of culinary delights, with Mediterranean roots but a touch of their former colonies’ influences, marked by a wide variety of spices. I tried to taste them all.
28th July 2018: Multicultural Grand Finale Night
Luis Falcao Sports Hall is the main court of the Faculty of Engineering, Porto University where students take a time off to do sports and clear their minds from the daily stress. The building placed near the faculty was first opened in 2012 and has 40*18 meters available for renting or enrolling in the activities organized by the university. This was the craziest night as I had it in my most outstanding polkadot gomesi (“the bazungu called it dress”). My culture was well represented in dance and display of our famous Matooke, a little bit of rice, meat and Nakati.
Last but not the least, I cannot fail to thank the Student/Young professionals organizing committee for the job well done. Thanks to IEEE and other companies for sponsoring, funding and making sure the congress takes place. To all the participants including my colleague Andrew Tebuseke Makerere University, this trip would not be worthwhile without you, to my Head of Department Electrical and Electronics Engineering Mr. Roland Niwareeba, thanks for believing in me and accepting me to go.
For God and My Country!
Ephrance Eunice Namugenyi
Junior Lecturer, Telecommunications Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Kyambogo University, Kampala -Uganda
Student Branch and SIGHT group Organizer IEEE,
Master’s Degree Data Communications and Software Engineering.