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 **

Additional Course Information

Over 3 weeks, the following topics will be covered by lecturers and guest speakers from ISCTE and other European institutions:

  • The humanitarian system/industry
  • Evolving borders of Europe
  • Migratory routes to Europe
  • Refugees and Migrations, an endless debate
  • European nationalisms Redux
  • Hypermobility of goods/inframobility of people
  • Original sins: oil, guns and crescents
  • Fortress Europe and the European dream
  • Harsh demographics, harsher politics
  • The politicisation of immigration
  • Me Expat, you Migrant
  • Old and new migrants: integration, reinvented identity, marginalisation, radicalisation, growing apart

University and Faculty


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.


The course is coordinated by Professor Manuel João Ramos and Dr Pedro Figueiredo Neto. Classes are conducted and organised by a set of Portugese and invited foreign lecturers according to the topic. Classes are complemented with research visits and field trips according to the topic.

Site Visits and Cultural Activities

Site Visits

Site visits include but are not limited to:

  •  NGOs focused on human rights and local integration
  • International organisation that promotes human rights
  • Movie session and dinner at a NGO promoting social inclusion of immigrant communities
  • Visit to Portugese military or police premises

Cultural Activities

Cultural activities include but are not limited to:

  • Lisbon Historical Centre
  • Sintra – UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Evora – UNESCO World Heritage Site


You will 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. You will share a room with either one, two or three other students on the AIM Overseas program.


Portugal Map

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 20’000 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 …


Credit and Funding


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.

Course convenors will not be able 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 this in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack, along with information about how to apply for credit at your university.

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, as well as in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.

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.

Application Information

Applications are now open for this program. Early application is recommended as places are limited.

We’ve included for your convenience below the initial stages of the application process.

1. Apply online
2. You’ll be prompted to send us a copy of your full academic results
3. We’ll review your results and application and if you are eligible, will invite you to an initial consultation by phone with an advisor.
4. You’ll pay our $55 application fee and book in your phone consultation with an advisor.
5. The phone consultation lasts about 15 minutes and we’ll cover detailed information with you about credit, funding, the program, your application and what happens next.
6. Once you return any necessary documents (which we’ll advise you of in the consultation), we’ll do a final review of your application. If all is in order, we’ll send you your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
7. Your acceptance pack will contain the course syllabus, steps on applying for credit and funding, and an invoice for the program down payment. Your place is secured once you’ve paid your down payment.

Programs 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.

Students who wish to apply after the official application closing date (2nd April) are required to email or call us directly on (02) 9975 7792. Please note, that late applications are subject to a $100 late fee (inclusive of the $55 phone consultation fee). For more information, please refer to the AIM Overseas Late Application Fee Document.

For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions.