Students studying photography and design took part in work experience to help shape their future careers with a two-week college trip to Lisbon.

The educational excursion was organised by Barking and Dagenham College as part of the Erasmus programme to foster cross-cultural learning for Europeans to study and gain experience abroad.

The group took part in work placements in Lisbon’s creative industries, seeing the professional landscape of Portugal’s capital.

Emanuelly Santos, a 23-year-old from Plaistow, met Portuguese architect Luis Rebelo at his Lisbon studio.

“The chance to ask Luis questions was the best moment,” Emanuelly recalled. “I’ll do my best to follow his advice.

“Seeing how an architecture firm operates inspired me to pursue a career in this field.”

Budding photographer Richie Lacey, a 19-year-old from Romford, met travel and landscape photographer Andy Mumford on the trip.

Richie said: “We talked about the incredible places he’s been to and how to deal with certain landscapes. Andy was really interesting to meet.

“Our discussion about the business side of photography was really useful, especially his tip about YouTube and how it can be a good platform to help build your name, promote your photography and build a client list.”

The meetings with Lisbon’s leading photographers and architects were arranged by college tutor David Bennett, which were aimed at giving the students “an understanding of the creative processes” and to see professional practices at first hand.

David explained: “They showed the importance of professional networking, as well as collaborating — and sheer hard work.”

The students have returned to their Rush Green campus with “a renewed sense of purpose and determination” to plan their careers when they graduate from college.

The fortnight excursion to Portugal has helped improve their sense of independence and given them skills in budgeting, the college said. It has also been a platform to learn Portuguese through language classes.

The college also runs courses for adult learning as well as further education for pupils leaving school.

It runs full-time, part-time, day and evening courses to fit studies around other commitments, while also helping those searching for jobs with short or part-time courses to improve “employability”.