Alentejo and Algarve are the regions where foreign students have increased the most

According to a study by Universities Portugal

University of Algarve – Photo: Sul Informação

Alentejo and Algarve are among the three regions that registered the highest growth of foreign students since 2014/15, according to a study by universities Portugal. At national level, this number has been growing progressively, almost doubling in ten years, that is, from 2011/2012 to 2020/2021.

According to that study, the Universities of Évora and Algarve are in the top3 of the institutions with the highest percentage of foreign students.

The Metropolitan Area of ​​Lisbon (38%) and the North (32%) are the regions with the most international students, but even so, it was the Alentejo (+230%) that registered the greatest growth in the referred period, followed by the North (+108%) and the Algarve (+97%).

Among the institutions that make up the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities (CRUP), the Universities of Évora (20%), NOVA de Lisboa (19,4%) and Algarve (19%) are those with the highest percentage of foreign students.

The study on the representation of foreign students in Portugal is the responsibility of the universities Portugal, a project that integrates the 16 higher education institutions that are members of CRUP, and was presented, in Aveiro, at a conference dedicated to the theme “Opportunities for Digital Transformation in the Internationalization of Higher Education”.

Presented by the rector Paulo Jorge Ferreira, from the University of Aveiro, the study reveals that «[foreign] students come from countries that are close to Portugal, whether linguistic, cultural or geographical».

«Portugal and Spain appear as the main European destination for students outgoing from South America, but, in many cases, they are not the main destination at all, which means that there is still a very important market in this context, particularly for Portugal, where penetration is felt almost only in the case of Brazil». says the study.

Also according to the same document, public higher education represents 78% of all foreign students enrolled in 2020/21.

With regard to the distribution of international students by type of education, there is an increase in Portuguese polytechnic education (+137%) from 2014/15 to 2020/21, but even so, this represents 29% compared to the university segment (71%), which also grew (+56%) in this period.

A degree is the level of training with the highest representation of foreign students (43%). Master's ranks 2nd (27%) and doctorates rank 3rd (14%). The level that registers the greatest growth (+432%), since 2014/15, are the CTeSP (Higher Professional Technical Courses).

Currently, 86% of foreign students in national territory are attending the full academic degree, recording a growth (+130%) since 2014/15.

14% are on a mobility basis, with a reduction (-32%) compared to 2014/15, due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Speaking of the impacts of the pandemic, the 2020/2021 school year "suffered a drop of 10% less than the previous one", with "the reduction limited to students in mobility regime", but reinforces that "there are conditions to resume the growth of the short-term mobility'.

The study also mentions that, in the European context, Portugal occupies a prominent position in terms of foreign students from Central and South America (44%) and Africa (30%).

“Brazil is the country with the highest share of foreign students in Portugal (33%), followed by Cape Verde (10%), Guinea-Bissau (8%) and Angola (7%), which precede the European countries”.