Applications for our January 2020 intake are now closed. If you are still interested in applying, please contact us at as we may consider late applications for some of our programs.

The interactive Empowering Women in the 21st Century taught by AIM Overseas’s partner ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon – in Portugal aims to give students an overview of women’s contribution to the development of societies. The course brings to discussion topics regarding gender and how values and norms influence and perpetuate stereotypes, supporting mechanisms and reproducing inequality in several social domains: politics, economy, education, family, work, environment, health, and personal safety. The course is awareness raising and stimulates a general sensitivity to gender issues. 

Students are invited to visit Portuguese and international agencies as well as non-governmental organisations focused on human rights and the empowerment of women. Groups will be supported by a weekly meeting with a supervisor to discuss the on-going research and promote a sociological reflection on a chosen topic.

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

Hear What a Returned Student Says About the Program

The program aims to provide an overview of women's contribution to the development of societies. With a sociological perspective, the program brings to discussion topics regarding gender and how values and norms influence and perpetuate stereotypes, supporting mechanisms and reproducing inequality in several social domains: politics, economy, education, family, work, environment, health, and personal safety.

You are invited to visit Portuguese and international agencies as well as non governmental organisations focused on human rights and the empowerment of women.

The course will cover the following topics:

- Family and the importance of women in history
- Conceptual framework for gender analysis
- Feminism and the empowerment of women
- The role of organisations to promote human rights and women's rights
- Gender and work-life balance
- The political role of women
- Gender and inequality
- Work and gender desegregation
- Gender and migrations
- Gender and environment
- Gender-based violence and human trafficking
- Gender and health

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 Portuguese 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

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.

Classes are conducted and organised by a set of Portuguese and invited foreign lecturers according to the topic. Classes are complemented with research visits and field trips according to the topic.

Margarida Barroso is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, from the University Institute of Lisbon. She holds a PhD in Sociology, with a dissertation on the quality of working life of high-qualified professionals. Her research interests include social policy, work, organisations, education, gender and work-life integration. She is a certified trainer on gender equality and she has worked as an external consultant for the Portuguese Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, the European Commission and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions.

Mara Clemente Mara Clemente Integrated researcher at the Center for Research and Studies of Sociology (CIES-IUL) of the ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) and associate researcher of the Emigration Observatory (OEm) of the same institute. My main area of training and research is sociology, with research focused on issues of gender and sexuality in migratory contexts. Since 2018 I have been working on a project entitled "The construction of counter-trafficking regimes in Mediterranean Europe: Actors, Discourses and Representations", whose main objective is the critical observation and comprehensive analysis of anti-trafficking systems in Southern Europe. Previously, through funding provided by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (FRH / BPD / 93923 / 2013), I carried out a study on policies and practices for assistance and reintegration of trafficked women in Portugal. My interest in gender and sexuality issues culminated in my PhD research on "sex tourism" and prostitution of minors in the Caribbean, with field work conducted mainly in the Dominican Republic. After completing my PhD in 2011 at Sapienza, University of Rome, I conducted several projects in Europe and South America, integrating academic research groups and action-research projects from different organizations. Invited Professor a course on Women Empowerment in the XXI century at the University of Lisbon (ISCTE- IUL) and AIM Overseas, and Visiting professor in a Master’s Degree program on Migration and Development at the Sapienza University of Rome.

Ana Espirito-Santo is an assistant professor at the ISCTE-IUL (Lisbon University Institute). She earned her PhD, from the European University Institute (EUI, Florence), in 2011 with a thesis on what consequences a more proportional political environment produces on citizens' attitudes towards the political system, from a gender and comparative perspective. Her main research interests are gender and politics, political recruitment and representation.
Cecilia Vaz was born and raised in Lisbon, since 1978. She started by studying Portuguese Language and Literature at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and went on to teach at secondary schools. In the meantime, she got involved in university theatre, did a post-graduation on Cultural Management and collaborated in several theatre projects, both academic and professional, acting, co-creating and producing. Later, she did a Masters in ISCTE, crossing over to Contemporary History, where she tries to take advantage of her background for an interdisciplinary approach to her research. Currently she is a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant in the History Department at ISCTE-IUL, where she teaches "Portuguese History and Culture" to exchange students. Her research interests focus on urban spaces, circulation of ideas, modern identities and representations, sociability, bohemianism, with specific emphasis in groups of artists, writers, performers, journalists and intellectuals.

Dulce Neves completed her PhD in Sociology from iSCTE-IUL in 2013, presenting a thesis entitled "Intimacy and Sex Life: Changes and Continuities in a gender and generation based perspective". Currently, she is a post-doctoral researcher at CIES-IUL, carrying out the research "The 'natural motherhood' as a new conception of citizenship: acceptance and controversy in Portugal and Spain".

Ana Rita Matias holds a degree in Sociology from ISCTE-IUL. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon, in the doctoral program on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies. She has been working on research since 2011 on issues related to social inequalities, living conditions and the environment.

Ermira Danaj holds a PhD in human and social sciences from the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland. Since 2002, she has worked as a researcher and lecturer on feminist and gender studies; she has authored and co-authored various research reports, books, academic articles and other contributions related to gender issues with a particular focus in Albania and the Balkans. In 2013 she was a Fullbright visiting scholar on gender and sociology at The New School in New York. Currently she is an associate gender policy analyst at the Advanced Studies Centre in Tirana and a guest lecturer and researcher on feminist and gender studies at the ISCTE University in Lisbon.

Frederico Cantante has a PhD in sociology and an undergraduate degree both in sociology and law. He is a research assistant at CIES-IUL, Observatory of Inequalities and a member of Colabor. His main research interests are social and economic inequalities.

Helena Carreiras is an associate professor of Sociology, Public Policy and Research Methodology at ISCTE, and a senior researcher at the Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology. She holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute (Florence). Her research interests are in gender and society, armed forces, civil military relations, security and defense and research methodology. Her work has focused on gender integration in military institutions and gender aspects of international security.

Joana Menezes is an assistant manager at Lisbon's Victim Support Scheme of the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) since 2014. In the scope of work, Joana provides direct general support, as well as counseling and psychological support to victims of crime. Joana co-coordinates the team of volunteers and psychology interns that work as victim support workers, also representing APAV at seminars, conferences and media agencies. Joana has been in APAV since 2011, first as a volunteer victim support workers, then as an intern and from 2012 to 2014 as assistant manager of the Support Unit for Migrant Victims (UAVM). Joana still maintains some of the previous duties related to UAVM, namely, the management of cases of Trafficking in Human Beings. Joana holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology and training in constructivist inspired psycotherapy.

Ligia Amancio has been a Professor of Social Psychology at ISCTE-IUL since 2002. Graduation in Psychology (1975) and Education (1976) at the University of Pairs (VIII), PhD (1989( and Aggregation (1999) at ISCTE. In the field of gender studies, initiated and founded at ISCTE with her thesis, taught seminars on doctoral programs on gender and social psychology in the Department of Social Psychology of the University of Helsinki (Erasmus grant, 2004), the Women's Studies Research Center of Brandeis Univeristy, Boston (2004), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris (2002 and 2004) and Faculty of Psychology and Education of the University of Geneva. In government worked in the field of public policies for equality and science, as president of the Commission for Equality and Women's Rights (1996-98), member of the European Sub-Committee of the Key Action Improving the Human Research Potential and the Socio-Economic Knowledge Base (1998-2002); Member of the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) (2001-2004) and member of the BOard fo the Foundation for Science and Technology (2006-12). In social psychology she has worked within the theoretical frameworks of inter-group relations and social representations. In gender studies her research is focused on gender inequalities at work, masculinity and women and science.

Margarida Medina Martins has work expertise in the following areas: Women Human Rights and Children Human Rights namely in the areas of violence such as domestic violence, rape, sexualised violence and child sexual abuse. She is the co-founder of the Association of Women Against Violence (AMCV) - 1992.

Maria das Dores Guerreiro, Vice - Reactor for Internationalisation, Professor of Sociology of the Family at ISCTE_IUL, School of Sociology and Public Policy. She is the Coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus International Masters MFamily ( and does research on topics such as Gender, Work, Family, Social Policy and Generations. At Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologica (CIES-IUL_ she coordinates the research group Family, Generations and Health and has been the Editor of the Journal Sociologia, Problemas e Praticas (2001-2017). She has many publications to her name on gender, work and family related issues.

Students will be staying at the Lisbon Lounge Hostel.
You will be housed in quad share rooms and you will have access to shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. Breakfast will be provided daily and you will have access to Wi-Fi. The accommodation also has laundry facilities at an additional cost (around 10 euros per load).

I'm not going to lie, when I finally landed in Lisbon after a good 36 hours of flying and layovers, I felt less like a travelling student and more like a freshly born calf landing 'Kaplonk!' in a grass field and wondering "what the heck is this place they call planet Earth? And why is it so hard to walk?" But! Fourteen hours of sleep, a continental buffet and a sangria later... I was feeling amazing. And when I met the bunch of twenty-four students doing the Empowering Women in the 21st Century course with me, I knew that I was in for an amazing time. 

A typical day would include making our way to buffet breakfast at our hostel and then a 15-minute train ride to the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE). There, we would be welcomed with friendly staff and an incredible spread of morning tea, including a coffee machine... No, I'm not joking. We sipped espressos all morning whilst we learned about the empowerment of women, their status as a tool for change and on a more urgent matter, their disadvantage in the public, social and political sphere and how we can achieve a more gender equal society. 

- Written by Brooke Jones



Hear the experiences of other students on this program

“The first day on campus included the obligatory “café, classroom and campus” orientation and a formal welcome and introduction by the faculty coordinators and facilitators. We were then treated to an amazing lunch of typical Portuguese cuisine including ‘stone soup’, cod fish cakes and crème caramel, along with a glass of local red wine. ”

- Kari Seeley, Double Degree in Bachelor of Media and Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Studies. READ MORE 


“It has only been a week but I know for a fact that coming to study in Lisbon has been the best decision I have ever made in my life. From what I have seen, Lisbon is a city that just breathes love and soul. It is filled with such rich culture, where you can find passion on every corner through the countless talented musicians, dancers and artists ready to express their creativity to everyone that walks by. Every day as I walk through the cobbled stone streets, I am overcome with an array of new sights, scents, and feelings that are not able to be experienced in Sydney. There is something so romantic and beautiful about Europe that I cannot even begin to describe, it is something that needs to be experienced first hand in order to completely understand.”

- Nicolaos, Bachelor of Social Science. READ MORE 


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 are currently closed for this program. You can register your interest for our January 2021 programs here.

Alternatively, applications for our July 2020 ROUND 2 intake will open on 6th Jan 2020. 
In the meantime, you can REGISTER YOUR INTEREST for a January 2021 or July 2020 program, meaning you’ll receive more program info and updates.

You’ll also be notified when applications are open!

The application process for this program are as follows:

1. Apply online via the “Apply Now” button or by clicking this link.

2. You’ll be prompted to send us a copy of your full academic results from your studies at university so far after submitting your application.

3. We’ll review your university results and application and, if you are eligible for the program, we will invite you to book an initial consultation by phone with one of our Student Experience Coordinators. You will also be sent the course syllabus with more program info.

4. You’ll pay our $55 application fee and book in your phone consultation at a suitable, available time with a Student Experience Coordinator.

5. The phone consultation lasts about 20-30 minutes and we’ll cover detailed information with you about credit, funding, the program, your application and what happens next.

6. After your consultation we’ll send you a follow-up email with instructions on what to do next, an invitation to join a program specific Facebook group to connect with other students applying for the program and a process document, which we have developed in conjunction with your Australian university, to guide you on how to apply for credit and funding.

7. Once you’ve completed the next steps in that follow-up email we’ll do a final review of your application. If all is in order, you’ll be accepted onto the program.

8. Upon acceptance, you will receive three emails containing your AIM Acceptance letter, steps for applying for credit and funding at your Australian University, as well as your downpayment invoice. Note: Your downpayment is due in two weeks from the date of your acceptance and secures your place on the program.

9. Once you’ve paid your downpayment, your application will be sent to the host university for them to process and review and they’ll send us your final official host university acceptance letter which we will send to you.

10. The full program fee (as shown on the website) minus the downpayment and application fee already paid, payments for the January 2020 intake will be due at the absolute latest by 28th October 2019.

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.

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.