Portuguese institutions’ strategies and challenges to attract international students: external makeover or internal transformation?
Public institutions in Portugal did not invest in strategies to attract international students until recently, when the adoption of a new legal framework and a national strategy for internationalisation set more appealing conditions for it. This paper aims to study the strategies institutions employ to recruit international students and the main challenges encountered. Findings draw on interviews with top and middle managers in two public universities. The main strategies identified are related to 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.
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