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The Perks of Living Abroad

A paper published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes this March confirms what we’ve known all along: living abroad is good for you! Hajo Adam and his fellow researchers took a look at how delving into a new culture can help you know yourself better. The paper, “The shortest path to oneself leads around the world,” claims that living in a new place increases self clarity. This is because you can reflect on your own desires and behavior better when you’re out of your usual cultural context. Interestingly, the study found that it was more beneficial to live in one foreign country for a long time than to live in many countries briefly.

This research is the latest in a trend of studies that have found that experiences in foreign countries enhance creativity, reduce biases between groups, and lead to career success. As the paper sums up, “Leaving one’s home country for extended periods of time likely allows people to reap the numerous benefits that a clear sense of self provides.” Studying abroad is the perfect way to immerse yourself in a new culture for a long time, at a crucial time for self reflection and clarity!

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Will I Like Studying in Portugal?

If you’ve heard about Portugal’s beautiful weather, amazing food, and strong universities we bet you’re considering studying here! However, it can be nerve-racking to study in a foreign country. Even students who can’t wait to go abroad and start a new adventure are bound to have doubts. If I study in Portugal, will I like it? Will the people be friendly? Will I feel safe? Will anyone speak English?

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One of the most important things that make a country home is feeling accepted by the people and culture. Forbes recently declared Portugal the friendliest country in the world! Portuguese culture is open and warm, and most of the people interviewed found it easy to make friends in Portugal. A high percentage of the expats said that they planned to remain here permanently. This large foreign population also helps make Portuguese culture so dynamic! With a growing emphasis on international education and a startup culture, Lisbon and other cities host people from around the world.

Portugal is a very safe country; SafeAround ranks Lisbon as the 17th safest city in the world, and Portugal as the 11th safest country. Travellers and students in Portugal can feel comfortable and secure. Language barriers can make studying in a new country very stressful and increase culture shock. Luckily in Portugal, about one third of the population speaks English, with the number higher in cities and younger populations. You'll be able to get around the country easily while you’re still learning Portuguese. Multiple universities offer programs in English as well, such as CLSBE. It’s even more common for graduate programs to be taught in English; many even have links to schools in the United States.

While every international student will have a different experience in Portugal (that’s what makes studying abroad so exciting!) we are confident you’ll find the country warm and welcoming!

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.

Doctorates on the Rise

According to a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the number of doctoral graduates has increased worldwide within the last 20 years. The majority of these graduates are from countries in OECD, of which Portugal has been a member since the ‘60s. The report also noted that the distribution of degrees has changed, with over half awarded in STEM and health fields. These increases can be sourced to large emerging economies, like India, in addition to changes in the higher education landscape.

Image via  TNW

Image via TNW

OECD referenced increasing digitalization in schools and internationalized research. These changes bode well for Portugal, as Portuguese institutions focus on global educational cooperation, including gaining international students. This upward trend will likely keep increasing in the country with the news that polytechnics can award doctorate degrees.

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.

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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!

Politécnico News

Earlier this month, the Council of Ministers followed OECD recommendations and ruled that politécnicos can award doctorate degrees. This is big news for international students; previously, only universities could award PhDs.

This new plan is partially to encourage polytechnics to improve their science and research capacity, as reported by minister Manuel Hitor. It places conditions on polytechnics, like increased Research & Development activity and high evaluation by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. The Council also authorized a new type of one year master’s degree.

Eventually, these moves will increase the number of higher degree holders in the workplace. This is a great opportunity to study abroad in Portugal! International students looking to earn their doctorate degrees have even more institutions to choose from.

Students have more options for graduate studies in Portugal.

Students have more options for graduate studies in Portugal.

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.

Carnival in Portugal

Studying abroad in Portugal has many perks! International students love the weather, food, and culture, including Portuguese festivals. Carnival marks the beginning of Lent and is celebrated in Portugal with parades and festivals throughout the week.

This year, tourists, locals, and students attended events across the country. One such parade in Lisbon, the Spring Festival, combined Carnival with Chinese traditions, highlighting the city’s diverse blend of cultures.

Cascais 2018 European Youth Capital

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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.