Distance Learning Abroad: Dancing through Lisbon
Mira Amadea conquers the Portuguese capital with Irish dance. At the same time, she is studying business psychology at IUBH Distance Learning to expand her professional qualifications.
My name is Mira Amadea and I have been living in Lisbon, the beautiful capital of Portugal, for four years. In 2014 I finished my degree in film and photography at the Braunschweig University of Creative Arts and wanted to go abroad. So, in the summer of 2014 I set off for Lisbon with the idea of getting a job in advertising.
However, it turned out differently than planned. Instead of advertising, by passion for Irish dance became the centre of my life. I have trained and competed in Irish dance since I was 12 years old. At first I was looking for suitable dance group in Lisbon, but was without luck. After much deliberation and conversations with my dance teachers from Germany and Ireland, I gathered my courage and decided to offer dance classes myself. Although I had already assisted my dance instructors with teaching classes for many years and had participated in many international competitions, it was still a big step to be suddenly teaching on my own.
Within one year a shift from casual employment to full-time job
Since Irish dance is relatively unknown in Portugal, it was initially difficult to capture people’s interest. At the beginning I only had two students and during the first months it was very difficult for me to establish this form of dance. At some point, however, I had the opportunity to teach at the British school near Lisbon, and this was the turning point. Step by step, with many appearances at events and the support of local bands and the Irish embassy, I was able to gradually awaken public interest in Irish dance. Soon after that, I earned enough to live off my teaching. After a year I had to make a decision: continue to work in film or put the focus on dance. Both are very time consuming and it would be impossible to do film and dance at the same time.
I decided in favour of dance and to go one step further: I registered for the dance teacher certification examination at the Irish Dancing Commission (CLRG) in Dublin. I used the following year to prepare for the very demanding and difficult exam. As a German teaching Irish dance, the challenge was not easy. The Irish community was very sceptical and I had to work hard to earn their confidence in my work.
…and the first certified Irish dance teacher in Portugal
In 2016 I completed the three-day exam and passed. With the title “TCRG” my teaching status is officially recognised and I am authorised to send my own students to international competitions. This made me the first certified Irish dance teacher in Portugal. In the following year, I focused on increasing my teaching capacities and preparing my students for international competitions to enhance the reputation of my very own school, “Rince Na Lisboa Academy of Irish Dance”.
Job security with a strong second pillar
Although I was successful with my dance school, I wanted to expand my professional options for the future. The idea of going back to study became increasingly clear. Although I speak fluent Portuguese, studying in Portugal was out of the question for me. Since I wanted to continue my work as a dance teacher, I decided to study at IUBH Distance Learning. Studying in my native language while living abroad, the flexibility of online learning and the option of taking exams online were ideal conditions for me.
But which subject should I study? In 2017 I had already thought about sports psychology and mental preparation for competitive sports. I also realised that I often lack business expertise. After many conversations with friends and family and doing my own research, I decided to study business psychology and started in the spring of 2018. Initially it was difficult for me to get used to studying, but I have now discovered a learning technique that works for me. I am able to find the right learning rhythm in between stressful work phases such as the beginning or end of the dance season, preparation time for the championship and St. Patrick’s Day.
Last year I discovered a new passion – climbing. I use climbing to find balance between the demands of working and studying. The decision about whether I want to stay in Portugal, go back to Germany or live somewhere else is still in the far future. I am open to many options and always keep an eye out for my personal and professional growth. Wherever I eventually end up, I feel well prepared for the next steps with an internationally recognised degree in business psychology.