Articles People & Places

One year of SAHC as an opportunity of discernment

29 June, 2020 3 min reading
Alice Sartori, Architect at AOF - Augusto De Oliveira Ferreira, Braga, Portugal

One year of SAHC as an opportunity of discernment

I made the decision to apply to the SAHC Master Program because in my past experience as an architect specialized in conservation I felt the necessity of having a better understanding of the engineering aspects of this field.


Once I got the chance to start the SAHC program, I spent the following year in Portugal, as my dissertation took place at the University of Minho. From the very beginning, I got in touch with an extremely international reality and an uncommonly challenging path to face. The topics studied were often completely new, as my previous experiences were more oriented on the architectural side, and the breadth of my knowledge increased substantially.


Along with this, during the first seven months of classes and especially during the final period of dissertation, I got the chance to approach and discover new interests by studying topics that I have never considered before. These expanded my knowledge and love for the field that I choose as my own.


Finding myself able to deal with the circumstances and even enjoying the daily challenges was the most unforeseen and marked aspect of my SAHC year. The demanding year of SAHC gave me the chance to dive deeper into the topic of conservation that I found deeply important for my professional life and that I have always considered my first interest in Architecture.


Another fundamental element of the SAHC year is the amazing people that I met. I recognize how lucky I was during this experience because I got the opportunity to meet some awesome people who walked beside me, and I am glad to say that these friendships did not end with the program. I consider living close to people from different experiences, cultures, and traditions is a rare, enriching opportunity and a great chance for personal growth. At the end of this chapter of my life, I can say that I have learned as much about conservation as I have about the outer world and myself.

Of course, the difficulties that I faced were numerous: I had the uncomfortable experience of learning my own limits; I eventually got the chance to better understand what and who I want to be and also importantly, what and who I don’t want to be. The experiences I had in one year of SAHC and in one year of Portugal were fundamental in this process of discernment.


Honestly, I had never considered the possibility of returning to University after graduating with my Architecture degree, but I can say now that I am glad that I took the chance to follow this unforeseen path. Today I am still in Portugal, and I am currently working in AOF – Augusto de Oliveira Ferreira, a company that specializes in the conservation of the same historical heritage that I got in touch with while making my thesis. Here, I keep on cultivating my knowledge and experience in the field.