International Students

Digitizing Portugal

The government of Portugal signed a memorandum of understanding with network technology company Cisco earlier this month to increase the country’s digitization. The aim of the two year partnership, according to Prime Minister António Costa, is “to create a sustainable innovation ecosystem that will enable our country to better compete in the global digital economy.”

The partnership has a wide spectrum of goals with an emphasis on education and entrepreneurship. To optimize education, they plan to teach students digital skills and create ‘smart schools.’ A collaboration with StartUP Portugal will support tech startups and help them achieve international expansion. The third priority is digital transformation of the Public sector, making government platforms more efficient.

This program follows the Portuguese national initiative Indústria 4.0 that was expanded at the 2017 European Commission Digital Day. The Commission is working to coordinate and fund national digitization efforts across Europe. International students will play a role in both plans. Investments that Portugal, Cisco, and the EU make in technology and digital industry will encourage international, diverse entrepreneurship and ensure that students are trained for the jobs of the future.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Prime Minister António Costa, and Minister of Presidency and Administrative Modernization Maria Manuel Leitão Marques. Photo via  GlobeNewswire .

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Prime Minister António Costa, and Minister of Presidency and Administrative Modernization Maria Manuel Leitão Marques. Photo via GlobeNewswire.

Scientific Growth

Last year saw a dramatic rise in the number of patents granted to Portugal by the European Patent Office. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of patents granted rose 15.3%, the highest rate of growth in a decade! The areas with the most applications were medication and medical technology. Porto led the country with 16% of applications, and Universidade do Porto ranked in the top 5 applicants.

The growth was not contained to Portugal; Europe overall applied for more patents in 2017 with a 3.9% growth, highlighting the rising interest in STEM and tech knowledge across the continent. We've already reported on the emphasis of these fields in Portuguese schools and the growth of these markets in Portugal. This recent news highlights the ideal timing for international students to study abroad in Portugal!

Photo via  U.Porto

Photo via U.Porto

International Women's Day in Portugal

Today is Dia Internacional da Mulher, International Women’s Day! The theme this year is 'Press for Progress,' with celebrations, strikes, and marches occurring around the world. Progress is crucial in Portugal; a recent Eurostat report highlighted the work that needs to be done to increase income equality. However, advancements are clear as well. Later this month, Tomar will host the Women Economic Forum, with Portuguese women speaking to an international audience on the topic of ‘Women Dream Weavers.’ Yesterday’s report from the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs placed Portugal as the 6th top market for female entrepreneurship, as well as the country with the 10th highest percentage of women as business owners. These factors, as well as an increasing number of women in tertiary education, make it clear that Portuguese women are pressing for progress.

Image via  IWD

Image via IWD

Growth in Portugal

International students have many factors to keep in mind when deciding where to study abroad, especially the opportunities they’ll have after they graduate. The latest economic reports show Portugal entering a rapid period of growth with the country’s real gross domestic product growing at its highest rate in seventeen years. In 2017, the country’s real GDP grew at the rate of 2.7%, a dramatic increase from 2016’s 1.5% growth. This growth can be attributed to improving economic factors across the eurozone, as well as increased domestic demand.


Earlier this month, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Finance and Economic Affairs, praised Portugal’s “remarkable” growth. In contrast to expert forecasts, Portugal had the best performance within the eurozone between July and September of 2017. The population became more active in the job market as well, with employment increasing at an even faster rate than unemployment decreased. This news suggests an exciting future for the country, and a growing economy that future graduates can play a role in!

Contemporary Culture

Art buffs will love Portugal for the country’s rich art history. Traveling around the country, visitors can see fine art spanning from the fifteenth century Panels of Saint Vincent to Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso’s modernist paintings. In addition to art of the past, Portugal’s contemporary art scene is thriving. Museums like the Gulbenkian and the Serralves Foundation host contemporary international shows; right now, museumgoers can view work by photographer Mariana Silva and Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu.

View of the exhibition "Mariana Silva. Olho Zoomórfico/Camera Trap." Photo via  Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

View of the exhibition "Mariana Silva. Olho Zoomórfico/Camera Trap." Photo via Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

For those who prefer movies, film festivals take place around the year in Portugal. Porto’s renowned film festival Fantasporto will celebrate films from over 60 countries later this month! Students at the many art schools around the country play a vital role in contemporary Portuguese art. Student magazines, exhibitions, and performances break new ground and introduce up and coming artists.

ESAD's design magazine PLI Arte & Design, N6 Design after Design. Photo via  ESAD

ESAD's design magazine PLI Arte & Design, N6 Design after Design. Photo via ESAD

An Investment in Your Future

At the World Economic Forum last month in Switzerland, Portuguese prime minister António Costa highlighted rising economic opportunities in Portugal. With heavy investments in education, a highly trained workforce, and international connections and knowledge, the country is especially attractive for startups and tech companies.

Costa announced future investors at the Forum, including Google, which will launch a support center in Oeiras in June and hire 500 employees. Other companies, like Siemens and Bosch, are also increasing their investments.

Left to right: moderator Peter Limbourg, Prime Minister Costa, Irish Prime Minister Varadkar. Photo via  DW

Left to right: moderator Peter Limbourg, Prime Minister Costa, Irish Prime Minister Varadkar. Photo via DW

These shifts make it the perfect time to study in Portugal! As new and established companies search for skilled workers with global perspectives, the opportunities for international students in Portugal continue to rise.

Cascais 2018 European Youth Capital


Cascais is this year the European Youth Capital!

We are very excited to participate in this year long Event, directed to the European Youth and all subjects and themes related to the younger generations.

Activities will take place right outside Lisbon, by the Atlantic Ocean.

If you're coming to Portugal to Study this year, you will have the opportunity to chose from an endless number of events related to Arts, Sports, Employment, Mobility, Environment, Etc.

For more information, take a look at their website, here.


Conference on Youth Mobility within the Portuguese Speaking countries


UniPortugal was invited to attend the Conference on Youth Mobility within the Portuguese Speaking countries, in Lisbon.

At the event, all Portuguese speaking countries - Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East-Timor - were represented by official diplomats and students' associations.

Speakers exposed, among others, what has been done so far and issues students face when coming to Portugal, in terms of diplomacy, multilateral programmes, mobility programs, development support, etc. From all discussed, visas were the most referred issue, with students being verbal about their concerns. They noted that without facilitators and proper information, obtaining a Student's Visa in certain African countries represent a major hindrance for young people who want to study in the country.

Regarding Universities and Campus life, all students were happy to study in Portugal, feeling embraced by the people and the culture - so different from their countries of origin. There are associations that take care of new students, who listen to their problems and help them in matters related to studies and integration.

We took our notes, spoke with key agents and students to better understand their needs and how can we, as UniPortugal, help these students to pursue a successful career in Portugal.

After the meeting, we believe we can help our own students, even better! :) 

You can check CPLP's website here.

Portugal, the good destination

Europe is comprised of more than 40 countries. The continent is as diverse as its coasts - just take a look at the world map and you will see that the coasts of Europe are all rugged.

At a first glance, Portugal appears quite far from everywhere. Locked at the end of the continent by bigger and better known Spain. :( So sad...

Geographically speaking, why should you go so far away?

"It's so far from France/Germany/UK/Sweden... I cannot travel anywhere..." :(

Think again! Europe is the smallest continent, by area, which means that you can reach the very other side of the continent, in less than four hours! Lisbon and Porto have airports with direct connections to most of European Capitals and other interesting tourist destinations across the continent. Due to Portugal's size and the distribution of Portuguese Universities, it is quite easy to reach an airport, pretty much anywhere, for a low price.

Moreover, the most well known low cost European companies - EasyJet, RyanAir, WizzAir - serve Porto, Lisbon, Faro, Funchal and Terceira Airports, with regular flights to pretty much everywhere in Europe. Check these links to see all the airlines that operate in Porto and Lisbon.

Coming from outside the EU, you'll need a Visa and if you obtain the Schengen Visa, you'll be able to travel around EU, without much ado. ;)

So, even far from the center of Europe, Portugal is in the center of the action!