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

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

Over the 3 weeks in Portugal, the following topics will be covered:

  • 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

In addition to the academic classes, site visits to Portuguese and international agencies and NGOs will be organised to deepen your understanding on the various topics in empowering women in the 21st century. 

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. 

Instructor Information

The course is coordinated by Professor Maria das Dores Guerreiro and Joana Aguiar Patrício. 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. 

Site Visits

  • Non-governmental organisations focused on gender equality, human rights and women’s rights
  • Governmental agencies 
  • International organisation that promote human rights and gender equality
  • Movie session and dinner at a non-governmental organisation that promotes the social inclusion of immigrant communities
  • Visit to Portuguese military or police premises.

Cultural Activities

  • Visit to Lisbon Story Centre & Arco da R. Augusta, Lisbon
  • Group excursion to Sintra (World Heritage Site of UNESCO): National Palace of Sintra, Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Cabo da Roca, Praia do Guincho, Mouth of Hell, Cascais, Lisbon Coast (full day)
  • Group excursion to Évora (World Heritage Site of UNESCO): São Francisco Church, Chapel of Bones, Praça do Giraldo, Cork Trees, Évora Cathedral, Roman Temple, Aqueduct of Silver Water, Vasco da Gama Bridge (full day) 

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

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

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, 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.