Volume 13 Issue 1 (2024)

“Looking for a Better Future”: Examining African Portuguese-Speaking Students’ Motivation to Study in Portuguese Higher Education

pp. 68-83  |  Published Online: February 2024  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2024.131.5

Catarina Doutor, Natália Alves


Background/purpose. While the existing literature explores the internalization of higher education, a significant gap remains in comprehending the motivations behind international students choosing Portuguese higher education. This study aims to address this gap by examining the motivations of a specific group within Portuguese universities: international students from Portuguese-speaking African countries.

Materials/methods. The study was conducted with a qualitative approach using data obtained from biographical interviews with African Portuguese-speaking international students. The collected data were then analyzed according to content analysis.

Results. The findings demonstrate that the students’ motivations for studying at Portuguese higher education institutions varied. Their reasons include the international reputation of Portugal, the quality of its education, upon recommendation from family members, the Portuguese language, lower tuition fees compared to their home institutions, cultural proximity, scholarship opportunities, and the perception of Portugal as a safe country.

Conclusion. Through an examination of the motivation of students from Portuguese-speaking African countries pursuing higher education in Portugal, this study provides fresh perspective on the existing literature concerning international student mobility. Opting to study in Portugal is seen as a chance for African students to access quality higher education and to obtain an academic degree with significant recognition in the country of origin, with anticipated positive impacts on the personal, social, and professional aspects of their lives.

Keywords: Portuguese-speaking African countries students, international students, motivations to study abroad, higher education, Portugal


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