Meet Helena Ramalhinho L..
Roser Tresserras is the programme manager for all the MSc programmes, and also the go-to person for students who need help. Whether it’s timetable issues, queries about accommodation or advice on the best places to eat, Roser has the answers.
Everyone here on the BSM MSc programmes knows and loves Roser, which is why she’s the perfect person to kick off our ‘Profile’ series on the blog. If you’d like to be featured in the coming weeks, fill in the contact form with a few details about yourself and your contact details and we’ll be in touch.
So Roser, can you explain a little bit about what you do here at the Barcelona School of Management?
Since September 2014, I’ve been in charge of the logistics of the MSc programmes. I programme the online calendar and all the sessions, I’m the main point of contact for the students and give them all the information they need about the programme and help them with any issues they may be having. I’m also in close contact with the professors and I get them anything they need for their programmes, and help to organise activities through the year, such as the guest lectures.
That’s quite a broad remit! Do you have a lot of contact with the students?
As soon as students enrol, I officially welcome them to the school with an email and tell them they can come to me with anything they need. The first time they meet me may be at one of the brush-up courses at the beginning of the year, or on one of my landing sessions. That’s where I show them around the campus and give them all the important information they need, like how the grading system works, our calendar for the year and basic etiquette for classes.
What sort of issues can you help students with?
Basically anything! I’m their main contact with the school, their helper. Usually they have questions about the NIE and how to register. [Look out for our upcoming guide on how to get your NIE.] Sometimes they don’t understand a website so they can come to me and I’ll translate it, and I can help them to book an appointment. Once, I helped someone whose bathroom ceiling had fallen in! She didn’t know what to do or how to handle the insurance companies, so I did all that for her.
It must be really reassuring for the students to know they have someone they can come to.
I was born in Barcelona so I know how to handle people to get results. I can help our students to understand our culture here – it’s very different from somewhere like, for example, Scandinavia. Every culture has its own nuances, and it can be quite daunting if you don’t know what they are.
Do you have any tips for people to help them settle in?
Learn a little Catalan – people will feel more respected if you make the effort, even if it’s just a few words. Greet people with ‘bon dia’ (good day) and leave with ‘adéu’ (goodbye). Say please – si us plau – and thank you – gràcies – and people will notice.
There are free online resources at www.parla.cat, and you can find free lessons all over the city.
One thing I always tell people who ask me for advice on social and cultural activities is try not to be a tourist. Barcelona is a wonderful city with so much on offer, and there’s so much more to life than the holiday hotspots and mojitos in Born. I’m always happy to give people advice on things they can do outside of university – feel free to ask!
How about you – what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Until last year I was the president of a theatre group, which I loved. But after spending two years as president, as well as acting and directing, it was becoming very much like a job – and I already have a job I love very much!
I love reading science fiction and dystopian literature. I also love film festivals so I’ll definitely be going to the Sitges Film Festival in October. And I’m into feminism as a way of life – I wouldn’t say I’m an activist, but I consider myself to be a feminist.
I also like learning languages – I’ve had contact with 11, although I couldn’t claim to be able to speak all of them. I have native levels of Spanish and Catalan and I speak English fluently – I studied English language and literature for my undergraduate degree. I lived in Berlin for a year and had already studied German before that so I’m quite proficient in that, I know some French, I studied Japanese for two and a half years, and I can understand Portuguese and Italian. I studied Latin in high school and I’ve also taken classes in Provencal and Ancient Greek.
That’s very impressive! Do you have any tips for people who may not find it easy to learn languages?
I think the main thing to ask yourself is why you want to learn the language. Is it because you’re interested in the culture, or do you need it for your work? I wanted to learn Japanese because I’m interested in the culture and I like anime. I learned German because it’s an important language in Europe and it’s important for a European career, and I know some Portuguese because my parents love bossa nova and listen to it at home.
If you want to learn the language of a country because you love the culture, then watch films from that country. That will make you familiar with the sounds and you’ll eventually be able to differentiate certain words and the construction of a sentence. If you need to learn a language for work, you should definitely take lessons. And try a language exchange – meet someone who speaks the language you want to learn, who also wants to learn the language you speak. Go for coffee or dinner or just sit and chat to each other, and you can practice and correct each other.
I’m sure your students really appreciate your language skills – it must be great for them to hear a familiar language when they’re away from home. How did you go from language studies to your role here at BSM?
Well, like most people who graduate, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life! I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to be a teacher or go into corporate business. I found a post-grad programme in museum management here at UPF, and while it sounds quite niche it was actually really varied. I’ve always been interested in museums, but it also covered a little bit of law and intellectual property, some accounting, and management – there were a lot of transferable skills.
Sadly, there are very few jobs in the museum world but while I was a student here I saw a vacancy on the job portal looking for someone who spoke English. The experience they were looking for was a really close match – I’d spent two years as a receptionist at the Liceu Opera House in Barcelona, and I’d worked as a group leader taking Catalan and Spanish children to England and Ireland for two-week residential courses.
Combine all those experiences and you get this job!