Portugal

Environmental Studies & Climate Change

Earn college credit and develop career-building skills while living and learning in the 2020 European Green Capital, Lisbon. Learn how Portugal is addressing environmental challenges through conservation projects, sustainable agriculture production, resource management, and environmental justice practices.

  • College Credit

  • Language

  • Sustainability

WHY STUDY SUSTAINABILITY IN PORTUGAL?

Portugal generates almost all the country’s electricity from renewable energy. Its approach to sustainable and accessible tourism has been hailed as a model for economic development. Green and smart cities like Lisbon—the 2020 European Green Capital—enhance environmental protection and contribute to innovative entrepreneurship. Portugal is also a leader in forest fire management and prevention, as well as social sustainability, spearheading projects such as the decriminalization of drugs.

This program explores the human-environment interface through the lens of sustainability practicesAnalyze environmental crises, human well-being, and the connection between green economy and sustainable consumption and production. Through lectures and discussionsexcursions, and immersive practices, you will learn about sustainability and conservation, sustainable agriculture production, resource management and environmental good practice, and innovative use of renewable energy and its impact on sustainable economic growth. 

On excursions to the ancient university town Coimbra and the coastal city Porto, you will see impacts of climate change and compare conservation projects, sustainable agriculture production, resource management, and environmental justice practices. 

Upon successful completion of this program, students will earn three college credits through The Experiment’s accredited partner institution, School for International Training.  

LEARN BY DOING 

The Experiment’s programs are designed to build skills that will help you succeed. In Portugal, you will learn: 

TECHNICAL SKILLS 

  • Data gathering 
  • Research 
  • Academic writing 
  • Portuguese language 
  • College prep 

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS 

  • Resourcefulness 
  • Intercultural communication and understanding 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Adaptability 
  • Relationship building 
  • Critical thinking 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • Be prepared to be intellectually challenged by the course content and your learning community. Participants will be expected to complete required readings, assignments, exercises, and actively participate in course discussions.
  • In general, Portugal summers are warm and sunny. The climate is temperate and influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. However, in the interior, the climate varies considerably from north to south and from one region to another.  
  • The Portuguese diet is Mediterranean. Meals typically include meat or seafood, rice or potato, vegetables and legumes. Seafood is typical in most restaurants, so those allergic to seafood need to take special precautions. 
  • Access to the internet is limited and internet speeds and connectivity vary. 
  • The diverse personal and social identities of participants may, in part, shape their experience abroad. In-country partners will discuss cultural norms and the local context during orientation. Please read Our approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for further information. All students will have a safe space within the program spaces and with the local staff and group leaders. 

AT A GLANCE

Program Availability

Filling

Program Date

Jul 1 - Jul 30

Prerequisite

None

Program Fee

TBD

Group Airfare Cost

TBD

WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • College credit
  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • All program activities
  • In-country transportation
  • Health insurance
  • Experienced group leaders

Sample Itinerary

This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented below.

View Itinerary Details

Days 1-5

Orientation in Lisbon  

  • Learn about the history and culture of Lisbon, Europe’s 2020 Green Capital. 
  • Get to know other members of your group as you explore the city. 
  • Discover Portugal’s rich naval history through a visit to Lisbon’s Maritime Museum (Museu de Marinha) in Belem. 
  • Take a crash course in conversational Portuguese language.  
  • Take a cooking workshop and learn about Portuguese food and culture.  
  • Visit Baixa and the old city district of Alfama for a view of Lisbon from the fifth-century castle of Sao Jorge. 

Days 6-16

Thematic Focus 

  • Participate in academic sessions introducing foundations of environmental studies and climate change. 
  • Visit the Lisbon neighborhood of Marvila to learn how Lisbon’s urban greening strategies address environmental justice.
  • Visit NGOs engaged in sustainability projects and environmental justice activism. 
  • Learn from professionals and experts about Portugal’s experience in forest fire management and prevention. 
  • Learn how Portuguese industries are using plastic trash from the coast to produce fashion items such as shoes. 

Days 17-22

Excursion to Porto City, Coimbra, and Neighboring Villages 

  • In Porto, a city rich in history and stunning views, you’ll see the Casa da Música concert hall and visit the picturesque Cais da Ribeira and its iconic Luís I Bridge across the Douro River.  
  • Visit Serra de Monchique, which has been affected by extreme wildfires, and learn about the characteristics that make this region vulnerable. Visit the city of Coimbra, Portugal’s former capital and home to the historic University of Coimbra and its famed baroque library, Bibliotheca Joanina. Attend student performances of classical songs in cafés and visit the well-preserved medieval old town. 

Days 23-26

Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Lisbon 

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program. 
  • Learn how to articulate your Portugal learning experience on your college admission essays and in conversation with college admission counselors.  
  • Participate in a group photo exhibit on your perceptions of environmental studies and climate change.  

Day 28

Departure 

Program experts

College credit-bearing programs are led by accomplished and experienced faculty approved by the School for International Training (SIT). Faculty of record typically live in the country of study and are responsible for instructional content, classroom and field experiences, and daily program operations. They work in close consultation with SIT’s Dean of Faculty and Experiment staff team and group leaders to craft an engaging, college-level curriculum and design field and internship experiences that match student needs and interests.

Cátia Magro, PhD

Dr. Cátia Magro is the Academic Director for SIT’s study abroad program in Portugal. Dr, Magro holds a PhD in environment and sustainability from NOVA University of Lisbon – School of Science and Technology (FCT-NOVA). A native of Lisbon, Portugal, Cátia is passionate about the protection of nature and technology, which led to her career path as an environmental engineer. Her research focused primarily on decontamination technologies, nano/materials, hydrogen production, sensors and remote sensing, which resulted in one patent application, 15 Science Citation Index articles, and four book chapters. Driven by her enthusiasm to contribute to environmental actions and knowledge transfer, she joined The Journey supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology – EIT-Climate KIC , through which she was able to collaborate with other climate action advocates. Moreover, owing to her passion for communication she was head of the dissemination team of Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research – CENSE Research Centre at FCT-NOVA . Cátia is an ongoing mentor for the HiseedTech program, where she supports research groups in the design of ideas and products applied to industry partners. She was most recently a postdoctoral researcher in the physics department of NOVA, conducting research on the potential of sensor networks and satellites for volatiles/organic contaminants’ monitoring. Besides her academic work, Cátia enjoys traveling, spending time near the sea, and reading fantasy fiction books that allow for escapes to magical places. Cátia joined SIT Study Abroad as academic director in Portugal in 2021.