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We build relationships (for life)

The University of Porto is proud to have a long history of alumni who have found their love for life on campus. Students and now alumni have exchanged glances on the first day of classes, in a corridor or at a party associated with U.Porto. Here are some stories of couples whose lives have been shaped by U.Porto.

On 4 August 1959, a group of over a hundred students from the Orfeão Universitário do Porto boarded the liner "Império" for Mozambique to give a series of recitals in the main towns of the overseas province. The slowness of the journey and the rocking of the waves contrasted with the joy of all the young people on board. Amélia and Manuel hardly knew each other, but at their first party on board the ship they danced happily to the music played by their fellow orfeonistas.

Once in Mozambique, after countless trips and concerts, the group was given the opportunity to go on safari in Gorongosa National Park. That night, settled in the park, to the sound of lions roaring and hyenas screaming, Manuel announces himself to Amélia on a leaf of "acácia rubra" with a verse from a song by Luiz Góes: "Come with me, Amélia, I'm alone, I have no one"

They haven't left each other's side since. Three months after their departure, they returned home to strengthen their bond. In 1961, Manuel graduated in medicine and, as part of his military service, was one of the thousands of Portuguese who were mobilised for the colonial war. But he didn't leave without getting married first. The ceremony took place on 19 June, followed by a honeymoon, while the bride studied hard for her medical exams, of which she was a finalist.

On 11 August she left for the war, leaving Amélia devastated by the months of uncertainty and loneliness ahead of her. The couple had three children, the first of whom the father did not meet until he was nine months old, during one of his visits home.

When asked to name the most memorable moment of their marriage, the couple say that apart from the birth of their children and grandchildren, there is one moment they won't forget: the Golden Jubilee celebration, when they gathered all their family and friends. The couple met on an Orfeonistas trip and their 50th anniversary was celebrated with a recital by the Associação dos Antigos Orfeonistas da Universidade do Porto, of which they are founding members, with the choir accompanied on the piano by the couple's daughter.

Some years have passed and they are still exactly as they were at the beginning: in love, accomplices, friends and eternally young.

They are a young couple, but the University of Porto has left its mark on them, both professionally and in their love life. Although they both come from Penafiel, it was fate that brought them together at the FEP (Faculty of Economics of the University of Porto). They met in 2007, but did not start dating until 2008. In the middle of the exam season, and as economists, they decided to "save" the gift and start dating on 15 February.

They experienced unique moments at the FEP. It was there that they shared their first successes, cried at their most difficult moments and grew as professionals in all the associations in which they were involved (AIESEC, year committees, FEP choir group...).

They began their professional careers and at the same time continued their training in the "house" that had seen them grow up.

In 2015, with a more stable life, they got married in the presence of family and friends, some of them Fepians, who witnessed all this growing love. In 2018, they undoubtedly experienced a very happy day with the birth of their son.

For Tânia and Tiago, "although the corridors of the FEP are grey, there are colourful stories to tell. And ours is certainly one of them".

Helena and Fernando's story began on 8 September 1965 when, by chance and without knowing each other, they enrolled at the University of Porto on the same day. Fernando in Electrical Engineering and Helena in Applied Mathematics. At that time, the preparatory courses (3 years) for the engineering courses were taught in the Faculty of Science, together with the mathematics, physics and chemistry courses, which meant that they had classes together. It was usually during the breaks that they would talk to each other to supplement their notes and answer questions.

Helena remembers a message written on Fernando's drawing board in drawing class, which read: "There is no denying that men are devils, but they are all looking for a devil to carry them" and Helena's drawing board was diagonally opposite Fernando's, albeit one row ahead, so little did she know that her little devil was nearby!

Throughout the course, classes were interspersed with tea dances, ribbon burnings, exams, parties at friends' houses and various activities, including those of the CDUP (University of Porto Sports Centre). They got to know each other and realised that, although they had different temperaments, they had similar interests and ways of thinking, so they gradually and smoothly grew closer.

Meanwhile, in 1971, after graduating, and again by chance, they went to work in the same organisational unit at U.Porto, the Faculty of Engineering. Fernando as a lecturer and Helena as a senior technician, where they remained on the FEUP staff until their respective retirements.

This "click" intensified and at the end of their first year of work, in December 1972, they got married and, after returning from their honeymoon, the first setback in their lives appeared: the list to join the army had been published and Fernando was on the list, because his request to defer his military service for a doctorate had gone wrong, and he joined the army one month after their marriage! He enlisted at Mafra and was mobilised to Mozambique in January 1974. In the meantime, Helena applied for unpaid leave to accompany him, which was granted and the ship was due to leave on 1 May 1974. But 25 April came and it wouldn't have been convenient to go to Mozambique at that time, which never happened again.

When Fernando returned from overseas, he applied for and was awarded a PhD scholarship to Manchester. Helena applied to join him and was awarded a scholarship the following year. By the time they returned there were three of them, Helena with an M.Sc. in Statistics and Fernando with a Ph.D. in Power Systems.

In Portugal, they all continued their professional careers at U.Porto, which they combined with a family life that was gradually growing. Over the course of almost 54 years, the relationship with U.Porto has deepened as the four children have followed in their parents' footsteps in choosing a university. The second generation includes a mathematician, a telecommunications engineer (living in Atlanta, USA), a thoracic surgeon and a veterinarian (in Oise/Picardia and U.Porto ALUMNI ambassador in Paris).

In the third generation, there is a granddaughter who, living abroad, makes her grandparents very hi-tech to reduce their homesickness.

For this couple, "the happiness we have built on the basis of serenity, sincerity and mutual trust should be celebrated. That's why we have celebrated some special dates with family and friends, among which we would like to highlight 25 years and 500 months of marriage!

It was in 1997 that the lives of Teresa and Michael first crossed paths during a sports holiday in the Algarve. But it wasn't until the Queima das Fitas in Porto that the flame of love was lit.

Michael Kaufmann, a German from Berlin, wanted to do his Erasmus in an "exotic" country, and Portugal, although he only vaguely knew it, was on the list as the most obvious destination. After a short stay in Lisbon, where he studied computer science, he felt most at home in Porto. In order to adapt to the language, he took a Portuguese course at the Faculty of Letters (FLUP) and fell in love with the city and its people to such an extent that he applied for mobility to the Faculty of Science at the University of Porto (FCUP).

Returning to where it all began, it was at the Queima, in the midst of the festivities and entertainment, that Michael met Teresa, a student of Modern Languages and Literatures - English and German at FLUP. Their good humour and optimism made them fall in love and they felt that they never wanted to be apart again.

Teresa, who wanted to study at a European university and had already arranged the process under the Erasmus programme for Stockholm, made the move to Berlin, Michael's hometown and where he would return after his time in Portugal. They lived together in Berlin for a year and a half. Michael graduated in December 1998 and they returned to Portugal, where they lived until 2011 and since then in Düsseldorf.

Ana Paula and Manuel Nuno were both studying Chemical and Biological Analysis at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Porto. Although they were classmates in the same course, they were in different classes and their schedules were so busy that their paths rarely crossed. It was during their final year placement, in the 1989/1990 academic year, that their relationship began.

Manuel started university in 1984 and Paula the year before. She failed one year and so they finished their studies in the same year. It was during their internship that they got to know each other. She was at the Ricardo Jorge Institute, but she had to do some specialisations at the Faculty, and Manuel chose to do his internship at the Faculty because he was doing research, at that time with a grant from INIC. It was during the afternoons spent at the faculty, between work, snacks and the daily search for origami left on the benches, that their relationship grew.

A good friend of Manuel's, who ended up being his best man, Isabel Campos, was Paula's classmate during her internship, and as they had been classmates during the course, they naturally began to meet every day, and that's how he got to know Paula better. Their friendship grew, and in the mid-1990s, during Queima das Fitas, they took the first steps towards a relationship. By the time they finished their course in 1990, their relationship was serious.

In Manuel's words, "Paula's sweetness, her smile, her kindness and friendship continue to captivate me". Paula, on the other hand, insists that "it was her attention to others, her availability, her good mood and her friendly shoulder that I remember the most". There's a phrase that Paula remembers Manuel saying: "I don't have time... but I'll do it for you".

The secret of a 27-year marriage? Respect, dialogue and the realisation that when things aren't going well and you don't feel like talking, it's important to talk. As "we often say, the first to apologise is the one who loves the other the most".

As a teacher, Manuel often tells students who are facing failure not to worry, failure is not the end of the world, "if my Paula hadn't failed, we wouldn't have met and got married...". As they say, some bad things turn out to be good. And the case of this couple illustrates this.

October 1982. Two strangers met in the fantastic atrium of the old ICBAS, both looking for information about the courses they had just been admitted to: Paulo in Aquatic Sciences and Cristina in Medicine. She was wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet on her arm, a modern white AGV, so Paulo thought she must have a "big" motorcycle, judging by the helmet. She replied that she had a Casal Boss, and he laughed a lot because he was a "hitchhiker" for a fellow biker who also had a Casal Boss... the cheapest and simplest motorcycle at the time!

They couldn't have imagined that after three years as colleagues and friends at the same university, they would end up dating and then marry at the end of her medical studies in 1988. They now have three children and will be celebrating 30 years of marriage in 2019!

Without ICBAS and UP, none of this would have happened...

It was 1983 when Isabel started studying Chemistry at FCUP (Faculty of Science of the University of Porto) and, as was usual for first-year students, she spent her days between the Piolho and the Chemistry Atrium: playing cards, drinking coffee, socialising and going to class were all part of the students' daily routine. In the large chemistry amphitheatre, they could also listen to fun music from the famous fair in the old Praça de Lisboa. It was in this atmosphere of fun and study that Isabel met her husband, José Carlos, also a chemistry student. Thermodynamics classes, chemistry reports at the ICBAS (Abel Salazar Biomedical Sciences Institute), Queima das Fitas and parades are all part of the memories of this couple who shared so many moments of happiness, expectations and dreams with the U.Porto "family".

They both chose the field of education, believing that the future lay in teaching and dreaming of being able to change the world.

They did their placements in the same school, in different years. When did they fall in love? It was during Isabel's traineeship year that José Carlos returned to teaching at the Infante D. Henrique school and, according to her, "that's where Cupid's arrow struck me", as Gal Costa says in her Rumba Louca, "and of course I couldn't resist such a powerful arrow".

They are both teachers and have already returned to FCUP to update their training with a Master's degree.

They have since married and have two children, Rodrigo and Benedita. Rodrigo, their eldest son, is already at the University of Porto as a medical student at the ICBAS.

On 16 April 2019, the couple will celebrate 25 years of marriage, always with a lot of chemistry in the air and sometimes a few explosions. Chemistry? Yes, the chemistry of love!

It was 2 May 1961.

It was raining! The Queima Procession took place that day, but Maria, a medical student, was already out of town. She arranged with her colleague Graça Arantes to meet at Primar to watch the procession. When she arrived, she saw her surrounded by a group of students, including an engineer's top hat. In the midst of all the fun that characterises this mythical day, the student, whom Maria didn't know, gave her a great welcome! It was the day of the parade, we had to go. So they spent that afternoon together, and all of Queima together, and continued to meet.

On 29 December of that year they got married. And they've been together for 58 years, living in Porto with their four children and three grandchildren.

The story of Renata and Ricardo goes back to 1999. They both entered the Faculty of Economics (FEP) and it was in the queue to enrol that they exchanged their first words. They had enrolled in the Management programme and spent a lot of time together in class and during breaks. However, Renata had enrolled for the second phase of the Economics course and when the results came out she began to think that it might not be a good idea to change. They were both very sad about the change, even though they were still in the same college (she still regrets that choice...) And that's when they realised how much they loved each other and didn't want to be apart. A few days later, on 29 October 1999, they made it official with their first kiss.

Over the next five years, they used every minute between classes to be together, Ricardo in management and Renata in economics.

They were married on 25 April 2008 and had Princess Carolina in 2012 and Prince Tomás in 2016. This year, on 29 October 2019, they will celebrate 20 years of companionship, love and friendship.

Ana Cristina Silva and Rui Ferreira came to FEP in 1999 to study Economics. They met when they were just 15 years old, in the 10th grade of Penafiel Secondary School, and both shared the same goal of studying Economics at FEP. They started flirting at secondary school and when they applied to university, they both got into their first choice: Economics FEP. During their studies, they were a constant and mutual support in the course, since study and teamwork contributed greatly to achieving success in each of the "chairs" and "cadeirões".

The study, combined with a growing love, culminated in a proposal of marriage in March 2003, at one of the tables of the famous "Lost Stairs" of the FEP building. They got married on 26 July of the same year, during the summer holidays of their fourth year. This means that they were already married in their fifth year, which makes this a unique love story, and at the time it was considered unusual by their classmates and friends. Of course, it was an unusual marriage proposal, given the physical space in which it took place.

As good economists who had just graduated, the couple's monthly budget, based on an Excel spreadsheet, was detailed to ensure the sustainability of a year of higher education where both spouses were students and only one had some independent income.

From this beautiful partnership, together with their colleague and friend Ana Carneiro, they won the Young Economic Values Award 2005, promoted by the Order of Economists in partnership with the Bank of Portugal, in the speciality of Political Economy, with their work entitled "The behaviour of economic agents in a context of unobserved economy", carried out as part of the Applied Economic Studies course in the 5th year of their degree, in the academic year 2003/2004.

With this peculiar love story lived at the FEP, in 2019 they will complete 16 years of happy marriage, which has given birth to two puppies, Ruizinho, currently 7 years old, and Davide, 2 years old.

According to Rui Ferreira, "Winning Ana has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, but taking care of the family we've built is undoubtedly a greater good. We make a formidable team and I hope we can continue to overcome obstacles together and smile at the good times that life gives us".

For Ana, Rui "in addition to the beautiful lashes and beautiful olive eyes that both my children inherited from their father, together with a very photogenic smile, Rui attracted my interest because he turned out to be a very intelligent, cultured and romantic person, with life goals and values in common with mine. The fact that he was a slightly shy and reserved person complemented my more outgoing and sociable nature, and it's curious to note that after these years of living together, I think I've acquired some of his personality traits and vice versa, which is really nice. It's wonderful to see the combination of our personalities and some of the typical traits of each parent in the personality that is being formed in our two beautiful puppies, who are undoubtedly the best part of our love story".

Is your story inspiring? Send a text and photos from your student days and today to and you will be contacted by the U.Porto Alumni Office team.