Portuguese Institutions’ Strategies and Challenges to Attract International Students
External Makeover or Internal Transformation?
Keywords:challenges, institutional strategies, international student recruitment, Portugal, small countries
Public institutions in Portugal have not invested in strategies to attract international students until recently, when the adoption of new legislation and a national strategy for internationalization created more appealing conditions for it. This article aims to study the strategies institutions employ to recruit international students in a country less attractive than the major receiving countries and the main challenges they encounter. The study draws on interviews with top and middle managers in two public universities. The findings identify three types of strategies: institutional branding, revision of admission procedures, and curricular adjustments. The main challenges are the creation of institutional structures with an exclusive remit for international students and the choice of teaching language, despite a prevailing opinion that the Portuguese language should be maintained as a competitive advantage.
Asaad, Y., Melewar, T. C., Cohen, G., & Balmer, J. M. T. (2013). Universities and export market orientation: An exploratory study of UK post-92 universities. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 31(7), 838–856.
Assunção, M. (2017). Exportação do ensino superior. Portugal Global, 97, 7–8. Retrieved from http://www.portugalglobal.pt/PT/RevistaPortugalglobal/2017/Documents/Portugalglobal_n97.pdf
Becker, R., & Kolte, P. (2012). International student recruitment: Policies and developments in selected countries. The Hague, The Netherlands: Nuffic.
Beech, S. E. (2018). Adapting to change in the higher education system: International student mobility as a migration industry. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(4), 610–625.
Börjesson, M. (2017). The Global space of international students in 2010. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(8), 1256–1275.
Brooks, R., & Waters, J. (2011). Student mobilities, migration and the internationalization of higher education. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Chankseliani, M., & Hessel, G. (2016). International student mobility from Russia, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia to the UK: trends, institutional rationales and strategies for student recruitment. Oxford: University of Oxford.
Choudaha, R., Chang, L., & Kono, Y. (2013). International student mobility trends 2013: Towards responsive recruitment strategies. New York: World Education Services.
Cox, M. (2012). International student recruitment: policies and developments in selected countries: Sweden, Norway and Finland. The Hague, The Netherlands: Nuffic.
Crabtree, B. F., & Miller, W. L. (1992). Doing qualitative research. London: Sage.
Cross-Border Education Research Team. (2018). C-BERT branch campus listing. [Data originally collected by Kevin Kinser and Jason E. Lane]. Accessed on 27 July 2018 at: http://cbert.org/branchcampuses.php. Albany, NY: Author.
Dias, R., Mendes, M. F., Magalhães, M. G., & Infante, P. (2013). The role of population projections for a redefinition of the Portuguese higher educational institutional network. In Joint Eurostat-UNECE-ISTAT Work Session in Demographic Projections, Rome, Italy, October 2013.
Falcone, S. (2017). International student recruitment: Trends and challenges. Journal of International Students, 7(2), 246–256.
Fonseca, M. L., Esteves, A., & Iorio, J. (2015). Mobilidade internacional de estudantes do ensino superior: Os alunos universitários brasileiros em Portugal. In J. Peixoto, B. Padilla, J. C. Marques, & P. Góis (Eds.), Vagas atlânticas: migrações entre Brasil e Portugal no início do século XXI (pp. 149–175). Lisboa: Editora Mundos Sociais.
França, T., Alves, E., & Padilla, B. (2018). Portuguese policies fostering international student mobility: a colonial legacy or a new strategy? Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(3), 1–14.
Frølich, N., & Stensaker, B. (2010). Student recruitment strategies in higher education: promoting excellence and diversity? International Journal of Educational Management, 24(4), 359–370.
Gök, E., & Gümüş, S. (2018). International student recruitment efforts of Turkish universities: Rationales and strategies. In Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2017 (pp. 231–255). Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Guerreiro, C. (2015). A internacionalização do ensino superior português as razões, as estratégias e os desafios (Master’s dissertation). Instituto Politécnico do Porto, Portugal.
Hulme, M., Thomson, A., Hulme, R., & Doughty, G. (2014). Trading places: The role of agents in international student recruitment from Africa. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38(5), 674–689.
James-MacEachern, M. (2018). A comparative study of international recruitment–tensions and opportunities in institutional recruitment practice. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 28(2), 247–265.
Kondakci, Y. (2011). Student mobility reviewed: Attraction and satisfaction of international students in Turkey. Higher Education, 62(5), 573.
Kubiciel‐Lodzińska, S., & Ruszczak, B. (2016). The determinants of student migration to Poland based on the Opolskie Voivodeship study. International Migration, 54(5), 162–174.
Kuteeva, M. (2014). The parallel language use of Swedish and English: The question of ‘nativeness’ in university policies and practices. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(4), 332–344.
Mainardes, E. W., Alves, H., Raposo, M., & de Souza Domingues, M. J. C. (2012). Marketing in higher education: A comparative analysis of the Brazil and Portuguese cases. International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing, 9(1), 43–63.
Ministry of Regional Development & Ministry of Education. (2014). Uma estratégia para a internacionalização do ensino superior português [A strategy for the internationalisation of Portuguese Higher Education]. Lisbon, Portugal: Author.
Mosneaga, A., & Agergaard, J. (2012). Agents of internationalisation? Danish universities' practices for attracting international students. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 10(4), 519–538.
Mourato, J. (2016, February 23). ‘Ensino superior politécnico & internacionalização.’ Público. Retrieved from https://www.publico.pt/2016/02/23/sociedade/opiniao/ensino-superior-politecnico--internacionalizacao-1724047
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2016). Education at a glance: OECD Indicators. Paris: Author. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/
Papagiannidis, S. (2013). Adopting online taster courses in postgraduate recruitment: the case of a British business school. Studies in Higher Education, 38(7), 1058–1078.
Pinto, S., & Araújo e Sá, M. H. (2018). Language education policy in Portuguese public universities: the voices of institutional stakeholders. Current Issues in Language Planning, 20(2). https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2018.1468962
Ross, M., Grace, D., & Shao, W. (2013). Come on higher ed… get with the programme! A study of market orientation in international student recruitment. Educational Review, 65(2), 219–240.
Ross, M., Heaney, J. G., & Cooper, M. (2007). Institutional and managerial factors affecting international student recruitment management. International Journal of Educational Management, 21(7), 593–605.
Russell, M. (2005). Marketing education: A review of service quality perceptions among international students. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 17(1), 65–77.
Saunders, B., Sim, J., Kingstone, T., Baker, S., Waterfield, J., Bartlam, B., ... Jinks, C. (2018). Saturation in qualitative research: exploring its conceptualization and operationalization. Quality & Quantity, 52(4), 1893–1907.
Sin, C., Veiga, A., & Amaral A. (2016). European policy implementation and higher education: Analysing the Bologna Process. London: Palgrave.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. M. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Teixeira, P. (2012). The changing public-private mix in higher education: Analysing Portugal’s apparent exceptionalism. In G. Neave & A. Amaral (Eds), Higher education in Portugal 1974–2009: A nation, a generation (pp. 307–328). Dordrecht: Springer.
Urbanovič, J., Wilkins, S., & Huisman, J. (2016). Issues and challenges for small countries in attracting and hosting international students: The case of Lithuania. Studies in Higher Education, 41(3), 491–507.
Veiga, A., Rosa, M., & Amaral, A. (2006). The internationalisation of Portuguese higher education: How are higher education institutions facing this challenge? Higher Education Management, 18(1), 113–28.
Werther, C., Denver, L., Jensen, C., & Mees, I. (2014). Using English as a medium of instruction at university level in Denmark: The lecturer’s perspective. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(5), 443–462.
Wilken, L., & Dahlberg, M. (2017). Between international student mobility and work migration. Experiences of students from EU’s newer member states in Denmark. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(8), 1347–1361.
Yang, S., & Akhtaruzzaman, M. (2017). Effectiveness of marketing techniques in recruiting international students: Evidence from a tertiary institute in New Zealand. Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 12(2), 336–352.
Zinn, M., & Johansson, H. (2015). Student recruitment for the mobile generation: An Exploratory study of mobile marketing practices in the international higher education industry (Master’s thesis). Jönköping University, Sweden.
How to Cite
All published articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License.