FLAD promotes the Study in Portugal Network in the USA
(Article published in Portuguese newspaper – Jornal i, 07/17/2015)
According to the latest Institute for International Education (IIE) Open Doors Report, over 289,000 US students participate each year in short-term mobility programs overseas, or about 9% of the total US undergraduate population. While Europe remains the continent of choice for more than half of these students, with just three countries accounting for 32% of the worldwide total (the UK, Italy and Spain respectively in order of preference), Portugal sadly remains off the radar to most US students. For example, whereas almost 10,000 Erasmus mobility students chose Portugal last year, less than 200 Americans did the same.
The Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD) has various projects aimed at changing this state of affairs, the most ambitious of which is the Study in Portugal Network (SiPN). SiPN was initiated in October 2014 as a 4-university consortium currently based in Lisbon. It includes ISCTE-IUL, a Universidade Católica Portuguesa em Lisboa, e as Universidades de Lisboa (UL) e Nova de Lisboa (UNL). Other partners include the Camara Municipal de Lisboa, a Commissão Fulbright, SATA, AICEP, a Embaixada Americana de Lisboa, e os Ministérios de Educação e Negocios Estrangeiros. Students typically come for a semester or less and are able to take a wide range of classes taught in English or Portuguese from any of the 4 schools. They may also choose to complete internships for academic credit during the summer. During Summer 2015, the program’s first, 23 students from the US and 1 from Scotland are attending the program.
As part of its marketing efforts to raise Portugal’s profile in North America, from May 24–29, FLAD participated in the biggest international education fair in North America, NAFSA – Association of International Educators. More than 11 thousand education-related professionals, an all-time record for this conference.
NAFSA was founded in 1948 as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers to promote the professional development of U.S. college and university officials responsible for assisting and advising foreign students who had come to study in the United States after World War II. Since then, as awareness of the importance of international competence has grown, NAFSA’s name has changed to the Association of International Educators. Its 10,000 members from more than 3500 institutions in over 150 countries lead the way in building opportunities for Americans to study abroad, participate in scholarly exchange programs, and study foreign areas and languages.
Portugal was represented at NAFSA with two stands. The Study in Portugal pavilion was represented by 7 Portuguese institutions of higher education, as well as the municipal governments of Lisbon and Porto and the Portuguese Fulbright Commission. Their stand was primarily geared to promoting exchange agreements with US institutions and promoting Portugal as a destination for degree seekers.
FLAD, via its project SiPN, funded a stand next door aimed at promoting its study abroad program in Lisbon. The US Ambassador in Portugal, Robert Sherman, also participated in the expo, greeting guests in both booths and promoting Portugal as an ideal destination for American students. With FLAD’s financial support, the Ambassador and his wife Kim Sawyer offered a reception for SiPN at their home in Boston. This was attended by representatives from both booths as well as others invited by FLAD, including various US universities that have either already signed on as SiPN partners or those that may do so shortly. Together FLAD and all the other Portuguese participants in NAFSA were aligned with a similar goal: to drastically alter the number of US students choosing Portugal as their study abroad location.
Article in Portuguese (Jornal i)