Why SiPN?

Studying abroad with SiPN has many benefits – here are the top 12 reasons why you should apply to SiPN.


Academic and Research Excellence

A little-known fact is that Portugal’s first university was founded in 1290. However, Portuguese Higher Education is not just sitting on its historical laurels. Since the democratic revolution in 1974, the country’s education system has grown to be one of the most innovative and dynamic in Europe. This amazing progress is reflected in the quality of education offered by its universities, several of which are well-placed in various world rankings. The dramatic growth in foreign students in Portugal over the past decade is another marker reflecting this progress.


Affiliation with FLAD

FLAD, one of Portugal’s most important foundations, has privileged relationships with other Portuguese institutions, such as Universities, national and local government entities, private sector enterprises, and nearly all cultural, historical, art, and social welfare institutions. This full range of stakeholders is fully available to SiPN and its students who aspire to experience and develop unique institutional relationships in Portugal.

Additionally, SiPN’s students are fully integrated in a vast network of people across Portugal and the U.S connected by FLAD. The Foundation cherishes these lifelong connections as they are central to its mission.


Partnership with Top Universities

Lisbon is known for its highly dynamic academic and research environment. SiPN partners with Lisbon’s four top universities–University of Lisbon, Nova University of Lisbon, ISCTE-IUL and Católica University–to provide its students with the best academic experience possible in this exciting contemporary city. Learn more about the Universities in this unique consortium here.


Program Flexibility

SiPN is designed to serve all types of students. Students may sign-up for coursework taught in English and/or Portuguese depending on their language skills. All universities in the network are fully accredited and members of the Erasmus European Program, thus offering full courses of study in English in most academic areas, as well as multi-level Portuguese as a second language offerings. These options are available both during the academic year and summer.

Thus, academic year students may select courses from SiPN’s core curriculum (taught in English), direct enrollment classes at our partner universities (taught in either language), or Portuguese language acquisition courses. Summer course options beyond Portuguese Language acquisition classes are listed in the yearly updated Summer Course Catalog. Additionally, SiPN’s experiential learning program (professional internships and research affiliations) is available for both the academic year and summer.

In order to facilitate selection, all options are organized by semester or summer in the tabs under Find Your Program.


Affordable and All-inclusive Experience

SiPN is powered by FLAD, a major Portuguese non-profit foundation, thus allowing us to offer program fees much lower than other study abroad programs in Western Europe.

SiPN’s Program fees include tuition, housing, health and travel insurance, monthly local unlimited transport pass, airport arrival transfer, welcome orientation package, welcome and farewell dinners, field trips, and 24/7 on-site support.

In order to defray some of the costs of Program fees, there are funding and scholarship opportunities provided by FLAD and other partner institutions, including Fulbright and Benjamin Gilman International Scholarships. For full information, please refer to the section Scholarships and Funding Opportunities

SiPN’s benefits go beyond the original program experience. One clear example is FLAD’s partnership with Fulbright, whereas SiPN alumni have priority when applying for a  Fulbright/FLAD Opens Study Research Award.


Student Oriented

All staff members are service-minded and are ready to address any questions or concerns from individual students, university staff, and parents. From the initial contact with SiPN to the receipt of the final transcript package, SiPN operates on a 24/7 support basis.


SiPN Field Trips

SiPN’s field trips provide students with a well-rounded historical and cultural experience while in Portugal. Students enjoy an array of destinations that include Portugal’s main cities, some of the best hidden Portuguese cultural and landscape jewels in mainland Portugal, and even the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira–all included in the program fee! Check out our videos here!


Learn Portuguese

Portuguese is the third most widely-spoken European language and the most spoken language in the southern hemisphere. Studying in Portugal will give you the opportunity to learn the language and explore the culture, economy, and history of the nearly 300 million people in the Far East, South America, Africa, and Europe.

Learning European Portuguese can also be an excellent complement for students who already have Brazilian Portuguese skills, or are Spanish speakers and are looking to expand their language portfolio with a new (yet similar) language.


Genuine European Experience

Portugal, a sun-filled country in southwestern Europe is brimming with old-world charm and new-world excitement, offering a dazzling variety of landscapes, a myriad of cultural attractions, and some of the friendliest people in Europe. Portugal has always been a place of cultural exchange. In 2019/2020, Portugal received approx. 50,000 international students. The country has no significant anti-immigration political parties or movements. It remains incredibly open to foreigners, as evidenced by the many favorable testimonies of those who work or study here and the rapid growth in expatriates choosing Portugal as their residence.

Although, Portugal has much to see, many students also want to take advantage of Lisbon and Porto as gateways to visit other European countries. Students can hop on a low-cost airline and visit fantastic locations in just a matter of hours.

“Lisbon: There may be no better place on the planet to be young and bold – if only in spirit.” – The New York Times


Lisbon & Porto– A Perfect Combination of Natural and Cultural Attributes

Lisbon has long been one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Its pitched hills and valleys are like a Mediterranean-flavored San Francisco with better weather, and streets fully dressed in art. In 2017 Lisbon was named the World’s Leading City Break Destination from the World Travel Awards, which also considered Portugal “the World’s Leading Tourism Destination in 2017.”

Porto was voted a European Best Destination for three years in a row (2017, 2018, and 2019) by the European Travel Awards, and it is one of Europe’s hottest cities at the moment for everything that is design, arts & culture, and urban renewal. It was also voted European Capital of Design 2017 by the European Design Awards.

Thanks to its landscapes, its culture, its unique combination of location, climate, history, safety, cost of living and the quality of its universities and infrastructure, the experience of studying abroad in Portugal will be unforgettable and life-changing.


Innovation and Entrepreunership

Developers and entrepreneurs in Portugal are marching to a new beat, given recent record economic indicators. Europe’s West Coast also known as the “California of Europe” takes on a new meaning when you consider the boom in the start-ups ecosystem in Lisbon. Incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces have been mushrooming all over Portugal in the last few years.

In Lisbon. as you stroll around the old neighborhood of Beato, you will stumble upon a former military maintenance facility that has evolved into the – Hub Creativo do Beato, or “Beato Creative Hub.” This 20-buiding-35,000 square meter location managed by Startup Lisboa is being renovated to house national and international entities in the areas of technology, innovation, and creative industries.

Web Summit – “The world’s largest technology conference” – has given a further boost to the startup ecosystem in Lisbon since it arrived at the FIL congress center in the Parque das Nações area in 2016. This event has increased awareness about the development of the tech startup scene in Lisbon by bringing together tens of thousands of international private equity companies, venture capitalists, tech companies, incubators, accelerators, and so on, for the past two years.

Co-working spaces have sprung up around Lisbon. Internationally well-known Second Home’s arrival in Mercado da Ribeira, just above the Time Out Market, marked a significant milestone in Lisbon’s co-working scene in late 2016. There is space for 250 members right at Cais do Sodré and boasts members like Mercedes Benz’s Digital Hub.

The Portuguese innovation ecosystem was the kickstart for three companies that have reached the “unicorn level” – over 1$ billion value: Outsystems, Talkdesk, and lately Farfetch. Others are likely to join this group of successful companies and entrepreneurs.


Gastronomy and Coffee Culture!

A highlight that is impossible to ignore is the unparalleled food scene in Portugal. Portuguese gastronomy–a blend of classic Mediterranean flavors with the newest international cuisine (namely from other Portuguese-speaking countries) can be found in Portugal’s main cities as well as all over the countryside. Portuguese coffee and pastry shops are known to be among the best in Europe, too!