The highlight of this program was learning from a different perspective, while visiting different parts of the country I had never seen before. The staff were the best, everyone had a friendly and happy nature, as nothing seemed to bother them. Listening to stories from people who have studied or experienced migration or were refugees was amazing. How they coped and came through the other side was so courageous, but understanding from where they were coming from and having to leave their country of origin was so hard to imagine. Portugal is the best, doing cultural studies first hand and not in a class room was amazing going to the Navy and other military sites, which was once a palace with hidden passages was so enchanting, we were waiting for Harry Potter to come flying by. To sum up all I could say is that I loved it and can not wait to go back. It is one of the best things in life that you could ever do.

- Dorothy Reed, former AIM Overseas participant

Applications are now open for this program for July 2020! Click here to apply now.

This highly topical course is taught in English by AIM Overseas’ partner in Lisbon, Portugal, ISCTE with the aim to offer students a thorough overview of the variety of institutional and non-institutional European and North-American responses to the current influx of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

Tackling the complexity of such sensitive issues not only requires a multidisciplinary approach but also a set of contributions from different (inter)national perspectives, institutional or otherwise. Indeed, the course offers a lively forum of discussion on the subject of border(s) and culture crossings that non-European current immigration affords, seeking to address the way in which these are being absorbed into major ideological reconceptualisation of European national and extra-national identities (as well as forms of citizenship). The teaching modules will focus on topics ranging from European history and regional demographics, from global economic trends to humanitarian issues, but will also discuss European integration and the recent rise of populist forms of nationalism, cultural interactions, ethnic-religious conflicts and securitisation of European external and internal borders. 

Lisbon, being a city with a long multicultural history and with an established African — but also Asian — immigrant community, students will be invited to visit districts where their presence is most visible. They will also be taken to visit the installations of Portuguese and international agencies as well as non-governmental organisations focused on humanitarian aid and integration of refugees and other immigrants. 

Due to the changing global political environment in areas such as the USA, France and Germany this program will also focus on these emerging issues. Therefore, the Border Crossings program will have aspects that are evolving as time progresses to enable it to be a highly topical and engaging experience for students.

** Details of the program are still subject to change **


It was such an invaluable experience and something that I would absolutely recommend for anyone with an interest in refugees and migration. The program took a multi-faceted approach to the migration crisis and really gave an opportunity to delve further into European experiences and attitudes that without realising it, we are rarely exposed to in Australia. The breadth of speakers and visits was fantastic and I feel I've walked away with a much rounder perspective on the various elements that have lead to this significant humanitarian event. Being able to experience this program and the beautiful city of Lisbon as part of it is something I'll cherish forever.

- Alicia Stafford, former AIM Overseas participant

The program offers an overview of the variety of institutional and non-institutional European responses to the current flow of immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Throughout the program, several activities will be developed, in a circular exchange of ideas, methods and information between different disciplines, nationalities and regional study areas.

Over the course of the program you will explore the following topics which will be presented by lecturers and guest speakers from ISCTE and other European institutions:
- Borders: A case study of West Africa + Zambia/Angola
- Original sins: oil, guns and crescents
- Understanding the background of the Syrian 'Refugee Crisis'
- Quantitative social science for the study of migrations
- The Politicisation of Immigration and Radicalisation in Europe and the US
- Assessing development efforts in Africa
- FGM/C: violent traditions, cultural difference and juridical conundrums
- Harsh economics, harsher politics
- Immigration Detention: the perspective of the detained
- Migration and labour exploitation: The Nepalese working in agriculture
- The current case of African refugees: another ongoing violation of fundamental human rights inside the state of Israel
- "Where is Israel"? The colonisation policy and the (re)making of Israel/Palestine
- Muslims' political mobilisation in the European Union. The cases of the United Kingdom and France
- The European Union as a crisis management actor: the growing link between security and development
- Migration, racism and citizenship in Portugal
- Aesthetics of displacement
- Exploring the links between trafficking, migration and gender
- Ideology and human trafficking
- Migration in EU and USA: a legal analysis
- Urban security and/as urban apartheid

Site Visits
Site visits are likely to include:
- Visit to NGOs focused on human rights and local integration
- Visit to International organisation that promotes human rights
- Movie session and dinner at a NGO promoting social inclusion of immigrant communities
- Visit to Portuguese military or police premises

Cultural Activities
Cultural activities are likely to include:
- Guided tour of Lisbon and Lisbon Historical Center
- Weekend trip to Sintra
- Weekend trip to Evora/Setubal

University Institute of Lisbon

ISCTE- University Institute of Lisbon is one of the best universities in Portugal. The University specialises in social sciences, public policies, management and economics.

The University is highly internationalised, and one of the University’s strategic goals is to foster the international dimension of its teaching, research and training.

This program is coordinated by Professor Manuel Joao Ramos and Dr. Pedro Figueiredo Neto.

Manuel Joao Ramos born 1960 in Lisbon, Portugal, is associate professor with tenure at the Dept. of Anthropology and senior researcher of the Centre of International Studies, at ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon. He is presently the head of the Central Library of African Studies and visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Technology - Gandhinagar. In 1982 he completed a BA in Anthropology (at FCSH-UNL) with honours. In 1987 he completed a MsC in Comparative Literary Studies (at FCSH-UNL). In 1995, he successfully presented his PhD thesis in Symbolic Anthropology (at ISCTE-IUL), with honours. His current research interests focus on politics and religion in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, African-European relations and migration issues.

Dr Pedro Figueiredo Neto is an architect, filmmaker and anthropologist (PhD in Anthropology EHESS, Paris and ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon). His research interests cover the proliferation of spaces of exception -- from refugee camps and resettlement schemes resulting from development projects to gated communities -- but also the (re)elaboration of borders, forced displacement and the role and conceptions of (im)mobility, namely in the context of Southern and West Africa. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at ICS-ULisboa and invited Professor at ISCTE- IUL. His work has been published in high ranking journals such as The Journal of Borderlands Studies, Ethnography, Planning Theory and Practice, Cultural Studies, or African Studies Review. For more visit:

You will most likely be accommodated in a student hostel in the downtown area of Lisbon where you will be well connected to the rest of the city and the University.

It's 2011. I'm 18 years old, straight out of high school and into uni. It's a couple of weeks in and I'm sitting in the uni's International Office at lunchtime to find out more about how I can study overseas. Three minutes in and it's becoming overwhelming very, VERY quickly. The cost, the lengthy application process, the organisation of everything (from finding my own accommodation to picking my own classes that match exactly with the subjects in my current degree) forced me to realise that I definitely wasn't ready for my overseas study adventure just yet... 

3 years later, I'm in my second last semester of my communications degree and I discover that overseas short-term study experiences are possible, and it really sounded too good to be true! Spending three weeks in America studying social media and marketing from expert professors in their field, visiting and networking with companies, whilst being immersed in American college life sounded like an absolute dream to me! Thanks to AIM Overseas, it was all possible! 

So, if you're tossing up between an exchange or a short term overseas study experience, here is what I've learnt about why you should consider a short-term experience:

1. It's financially a great choice if you can't afford exchange
2. You can work it around your current commitments
3. You can still absorb a whole damn lot in 3-4 weeks
4. It still looks AMAZING on your resume
5. It's a great way to get outside of your comfort zone... but not too far out


Nestled between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal contains striking landscapes ripe for exploration, from the exceptional beaches of the Algarve to the lush vineyards of the Douro River Valley. Portugal is full of beautiful scenery, old-fashioned traditions of village life and their outstanding, very affordable seafood. You can gaze upon 20000 year old stone carvings in the Vila Nova de Foz Coa, watch the sunset off the mysterious megaliths outside Evora, or lose yourself in the elaborate corridors of UNESCO world heritage sites like Tomar, Belem, Alcobaca or Batalha. Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians all left their mark on the Iberian nation.

It’s a Catholic country – there are ancient churches in every community – and while support for the institutions of the Church may have waned, a belief in traditional values remains. The Portuguese have embraced contemporary life without ever quite getting rid of the more appealing aspects of previous centuries. Fully wired town centres have Wi-Fi hotspots and cell-phone shops by the score, but they also have a butcher, a baker and (quite literally) a candle-stick maker.

The legacy of Portugal’s former wealth and power can be seen in its historic cities – yet the capital, Lisbon, superbly sited on the Tejo river estuary, is as popular today for its lively clubbing scene as for its grand Manueline monuments and medieval alleyways. Lisbon features cinematic hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo showcase Lisbon’s post-card perfect panorama. Cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals combine centuries worth of history into a city.  This coastal city has a lively café culture and nightlife that is one of the most vibrant in Europe. Moreover, it is the only European capital located close to many sandy beaches, meaning your time there will feel more serene. Lisbon’s Tram 28 is renowned for being the longest of any tram in Lisbon, following a loop that passes popular hotspots such as the Almalfa district and the Castelo de Sao Jorge.

Another majestic landmark not worth missing while in Lisbon is the Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its Gothic architectural style from 15th Century European Renaissance.

Festivals pack Portugal’s calendar. Drink, dance and feast your way through Lisbon’s Festa de Santo Antonio or Porto’s Festa de Sao Joao.

Medieval castles, cobblestone villages, captivating cities and golden beaches: the Portugal experience can be many things. History, great food and idyllic scenery are just the beginning …



All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.

Your course convenors will not be able to approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive the syllabus upon being assessed as eligible for the program.

For more information, see our Credit and Funding pages.


You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.

Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.

We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, which we further outline in an email following your Initial Consultation. 

You can also find more information about OS-HELP on our Credit and Funding pages.

Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.

Applications for our July 2020 intake are currently open. You can apply online for a program here.

You can also REGISTER YOUR INTEREST for a January 2021 program, meaning you’ll receive more program info and updates.

The application process for this program can be seen in the mindmap below.

mind mapPrograms are usually over-subscribed, so it is really important that you take care of things as quickly as possible. We’re here to help and will provide you with information and reminders about what you need to do at various stages.

For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions. Alternatively, you are welcome to submit an enquiry or register your interest. Registering your interest means you’ll receive updates (via email and phone) prior to the application deadline.