Portugal Fact Sheet - Open Doors report November 2016

Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released on November, 2016, finds the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities increased by nearly seven percent to a record high of 1,043,839 students in the 2015/16 academic year, representing five percent of the total student population at U.S. institutions.

More than a third of these international students studied engineering, mathematics or computer science, and 14 percent engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT) in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) professions. Open Doors also reports that more than 312,000 U.S. students studied abroad during the 2015-16 academic year, an increase of nearly three percent over the previous year, and approximately a third of these students majored in STEM fields.  The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The new report indicates there were 919 students from Portugal studying in the United States. The continued success in student mobility to the U.S. is significant because the proportion of the Portuguese population between the ages of 15-24 has declined in 20% over the past ten years. It also demonstrates the Portuguese students are seeking to study abroad more than ever despite challenging economic times.

Students from Portugal in the United States study primarily at the undergraduate level, with 32.6% percent at the graduate level in 2015/16, 45.4% percent enrolled at the undergraduate level, 11.4% percent pursuing optional practical training, and 10.6% percent in non-degree programs such as English language or short-term studies.

Even more remarkable is the dramatic increase in the 2014/2015 academic year in the number of U.S. students in Portugal, increasing from 319 to 423, representing 32.6 percent over the previous year.

EducationUSA hosts a highly successful annual U.S. College Fair in Lisbon in collaboration with the Futuralia Expo which received 170 registered students to meet representatives from ten U.S. universities.  In conjunction with the Embassy, Fulbright assisted in organizing the Study in Portugal representation at the NAFSA conference in Denver in 2016, and is already preparing for the 2017 conference in Los Angeles.  The Embassy participated in the Study Abroad Fair in Lisbon, Porto and Madeira in October.  The Embassy sent three representatives to participate in the EducationUSA Leadership Institute in Private Sector Linkages last December in the United States. 

With assistance from the Embassy, EducationUSA Lisbon organized an extensive technical exchange for the International Relations Advisors of ten Portuguese universities that included a series of workshops in Portugal and a visit to the United States.  EducationUSA started a Competitive College Club (CCC) cohort advising program in January with 15 junior-year high school students, and offered six Opportunity Funds grants with funds partially donated by FLAD.

The release of the new Open Doors data marks the celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

The Open Doors findings reflect that students study abroad in part to gain international experience that can be applied in their careers, and data also show that an increasing number of U.S. students—over 22,000 in 2014-15—participated in non-credit work, internships and volunteering abroad through which they can gain practical skills.

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Open Doors is published by the Institute of International Education, an independent not-for-profit organization with a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. Open Doors  also reports on the number of international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad. Further details on the Open Doors  2016 surveys and their findings is on the Open Doors website, and the full 100+ page report will be available in January and can be ordered from IIE Books.

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