Personal Development I


The objective of the course is to prepare students for work and study by giving them the tools to apply for employment or internships in an English speaking environment. The CU should also help those who are studying CUs that are being taught in English, as students will be exposed to the English language in class and will have the opportunity to practice their English speaking, reading, writing and listening skills. The course is practical and focuses on the PROCESS of completing the tasks outlined in the course objectives. The emphasis is not on theoretical grammar, but students will look at some relevant grammatical and lexical forms that are needed to achieve the learning outcomes. Practical tasks enable the students to practise in meaningful contexts. Classes focus on general and business English requiring active participation from the students. All classes are held in English.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Marco Octávio Trindade Painho


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language

Portuguese. If there are Erasmus students, classes will be taught in English


Students should have a general working knowledge of English in terms of speaking, reading, writing and listening. A minimum CEFR B1 level is recommended. Attendance is not compulsory, but participation contributes to the students' final evaluation. If the student is absent, they are not participating.


Academic Vocabulary in Use with Answers (2008) by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O'Del. CUP; Cambridge University Press 978-0-521-53762-9 - English Grammar in Use with Answers, Third Edition Raymond Murphy;; 0; 0

Teaching method

The basic methodology is communicative, influenced by Task-Based Learning and the Lexical Approach, theoretical classes and theoretical-practical classes. Students learn by completing tasks, such as writing a report or preparing for a job interview, focusing on the process rather than the product. The classes are student-centred, including slideshow presentations, quizzes, questions and answers, participation in a workshop with an IT recruitment industry expert with an emphasis on pair work and participation. The classes are very practical, and the Teacher speaks no Portuguese.

Evaluation method

Evaluation is by continuous assessment and is based upon:
Attendance/Participation - 10%
Formally Set Tasks - 90%

The minimum passing grade is 10 out of 20
There is no Final Exam
The tasks include the submission of (1) cover letter/job application letter, (2)  formal authentic CV to be prepared in Students`own time, (3) proposal or report, (4) creation and maintenance of an active LinkedIn profile, (5) speaking test conducted in a mock job interview scenario.

These tasks (tests) will be taken in class on dates to be found on Moodle.
The level of linguistic expertise required to pass the CU is based on the "Can Do Statements" or competencies at Level B2 of the Common European Framework (CEFR) which can be found here:

Subject matter

LU1: Introduction to Personal Development 1 course - Common European Framework of Reference table and correlation to English certification examinations, "can-do" descriptors for each skill at each level, basic questions for sharing personal profile and speaking about students' educational background;

LU2: Basic revision of English verb tenses to talk about past, present, and future time, revision of date formats, revision of past tense pronunciation of regular verbs, practise writing a short personal profile for their CVs

LU3: Review of English verb tenses, Introduction to the concept of writing transactional letters/cover letters, practise writing a transactional letter applying for a job, awareness of requirements of Task/Test one.

LU4: Brief revision of norms for writing letters of application, writing a formal letter under exam conditions, introduction to emails, common mistakes made by Portuguese learners of English, introduction to useful phrases for opening emails (greetings), useful email opening lines (mentioning a previous contact, introducing email subject. referring to attachments/diagrams/graphs/bullet points/ information included in the email body), standard Latin abbreviations used in the English language; awareness of useful phrases for closing emails (talking about the next contact, requesting replies, offering further communication).

LU5: Understanding the conventions of CV writing, distinguishing between a CV and a Resumé, completing a personal skills assessment, reviewing action verbs, awareness of the requirements for Task/Test 2

LU6: Comparison of the differences in written and oral language, understanding the conventions of formal letter writing & transactional letters, introduction to the FLAP technique, conventions of writing reports, practise formal writing.

LU7: Creation of a Linked In profile, the importance of having a professional social media presence, introduction to personal networking, awareness of the requirements for Task/Test 3

LU8: Discerning the differences between reports and proposals, writing a proposal, awareness of the requirements for Task/Test 4

LU9: Networking and Remote Recruitment Process, raising awareness of networking for employment, introduction to the basic concepts of assessing technical skills and cultural fit in a Remote Recruitment Scenario

LU10: Introduction to the ¿Dos and Don¿ts¿ of work interviews, instructions in how to have a successful interview, answering typical graduate interview questions, asking appropriate questions about a potential job, tips on how to succeed in a video or Skype interview, awareness of the requirements for Task/Test 5

LU11: Workshop with a local recruitment industry expert to discuss the A-Z of recruitment for young graduates, trends in employment, discussion of the importance of establishing an online social media presence, job interviews and how to follow-up, career growth, general career development tips, 

LU12: Practice for job interviews

LU 13: Mock Job Interviews  - Oral Test in an interview situation based on three of their previous task submissions - Cover letter (application for a Summer internship), CV/Resumé, and LinkedIn profile, assessment of their linguistic ability at CEFR B2 level.

LU 14: Mock Job Interviews  - Oral Test in an interview situation based on three of their previous task submissions - Cover letter (application for a Summer internship), CV/Resumé, and LinkedIn profile, assessment of their linguistic ability at CEFR B2 level