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Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa
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!
INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY OF A COMMUNITY OF STUDENTS FROM THE
UNIVERDADE DO ALGARVE
Margarida Viegas
mmviegas@ualg.pt
Adjunct Professor of Applied Quantitative Methods at the Universidade do Algarve’s School
of Management, Hospitality and Tourism (ESGHT-UAlg, Portugal). She holds a degree
in Engineering of Decision Systems from ISMA-COCITE and a post-graduate in Financial
Management from UAlg and in Strategic Direction and e-Business from the Universidad
de Huelva. She also has a master’s in Statistics and Information Management from
ISEGI-Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a PhD in Management and Economics of Small and
Medium Enterprises from the Universidad de Huelva, which distinguished her thesis with
the Extraordinary PhD Award.
Rita Baleiro
rbaleiro@ualg.pt
PhD and master’s in Anglo-Portuguese Studies by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL, Portugal). She is an Adjunct Professor at the
Universidade do Algarve’s School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism. She is an integrated
member of the Centre for Comparative Studies of the Faculty of Arts at the Universidade
de Lisboa, collaborator of the Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies
at UNL and member of the Research Group of Tourism, Space and Urbanities of the Universidade
Federal do Rio de Janeiro. She has been co-editor of Dos Algarves: A Multidisciplinar e-Journal
since 2007.
Abstract
This study compiles data on the mobility of a group of Portuguese public higher education
students. It aims to understand how these young people are seeing their professional future
and the hypothesis of international labour and academic mobility in a period of economic
and social crisis. Based on data from a survey applied to 425 students of the Universidade
do Algarve in 2016, their predisposition for mobility is analysed according to their
professional perspectives, demographic characteristics and language skills. The results show
that most of the respondents (69.6%) consider the possibility of working abroad and that
this intention is motivated by the disbelief of reaching, in Portugal, work that provides
stability and security, good remuneration conditions and social prestige. The possibility of an
international academic experience, considered by 60.7% of the students, is not associated
with the benevolent self-assessment of language skills. However, in the case of labour
mobility, it was seen that this predisposition is greater amongst those who express greater
confidence in their English skills.
Keywords
International mobility; students; Universidade do Algarve; economic crisis; Portugal
How to cite this article
Viegas, Margarida; Baleiro, Rita (2019). "International mobility of a community of students
from the Universidade do Algarve". JANUS.NET e-journal of International Relations, Vol. 10,
N.º 1, May-October 2019. Consulted [online] on the date of the last visit,
https://doi.org/10.26619/1647-7251.10.1.9
Article received on January 16, 2018 and accepted for publication on February 22, 2019
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
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Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-October 2019), pp. 125-142
International mobility of a community of students from the Universidade do Algarve
Margarida Viegas, Rita Baleiro
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INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY OF A COMMUNITY OF STUDENTS FROM THE
UNIVERDADE DO ALGARVE
1
Margarida Viegas
Rita Baleiro
1. The economic and financial crisis of 2008 and the international
mobility of Portuguese university students
At the beginning of the first decade of the 21
st
century, when the Portuguese pondered
the issue of emigration in Portugal, the most probable conclusion was that this type of
migratory movement had reached its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, and that in the
beginning of the 21
st
century the focus of attention would be precisely the opposite
movement: immigration. In fact, as Jorge Malheiros points out, between the beginning
of the 1990s and the middle of the 2000s, for both the political class and the academia,
Portuguese emigration had become almost invisible regarding migratory phenomena
(2011: 133). It was because Portugal benefited from the status of an economically
prosperous and stable country, where immigration
2
was more aspired than emigration.
However, the crisis of 2008 changed this situation. In 2016, when this study was
carried out, Portugal was still experiencing the effects. In fact, the bankruptcy of the
investment bank Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, triggered the domino effect
that led to the collapse of the speculative bubble in the real estate market, boosted by
the huge increase in bank credit and the creation and application of new financial
instruments. As a consequence, the credit suspension caused a sharp crash in industrial
production and international trade. In Portugal, these effects along with austerity
policiesrising taxes, prices, freezing of wages, etc. from 2010 have led to the erosion
of employment opportunities for all, with particularly harmful impacts on the youth,
which corresponds to the ones who were starting professional paths (see Carneiro,
Portugal & Varejão, 2014).
Between 2008 and 2013, the general unemployment rate in Portugal almost doubled,
from 7.6% to 16.2% (see Table 1), whilst in the age group “under the age of 25 years”
it changed from 16.7% to 38.1% In 2016, the year when this study was conducted, the
same database estimated that the youth unemployment rate (under 25 years’ old) was
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1
The translation of this article was funded by national funds through FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e
a Tecnologia - as part of OBSERVARE project with the reference UID/CPO/04155/2019, with the aim of
publishing Janus.net. Text translated by Thomas Rickard.
2
About the immigration movement to Portugal, see J.M. Malheiros & A. Esteves (2013). Diagnóstico da
população imigrante em Portugal: Desafios e potencialidades. Lisboa: Alto Comissariado para a Imigração
e Diálogo Intercultural.
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28.0%. Therefore, there was a decrease compared to previous years, as it happened in
the euro area, where the unemployment rate changed from 22.2%, in 2015, to 20.7%,
in 2016.
Table 1. Unemployment rate in Portugal: Total and by age group (%)
Years
Total
<25
25-54
55-64
2004
6.6
15.4
6.0
5.5
2005
7.6
16.2
7.2
6.1
2006
7.6
16.5
7.3
6.3
2007
8.0
16.7
7.8
6.5
2008
7.6
16.7
7.2
6.6
2009
9.4
20.3
9.2
7.6
2010
10.8
22.8
10.7
8.9
2011
12.7
30.2
11.9
10.8
2012
15.5
37.9
14.7
12.7
2013
16.2
38.1
15.5
13.7
2014
13.9
34.8
12.7
13.5
2015
12.4
32.0
11.2
12.4
2016
11.1
28.0
10.0
11.6
Source: Pordata (last update in March 22, 2017).
Even when the general unemployment rate decreases, the youth unemployment
remains high, in addition to the fact that most employment opportunities for young
people correspond mainly to temporary jobs (Silva & Abrantes, 2017: 1336). The
investigations that analysed the Portuguese employability and the youth pointed out
that, in addition to the high unemployment rates, there are increasing wage inequalities
(Carmo, Cantante & Alves, 2014) and much precariousness (Alves, Singer, Baptista &
Carmo, 2011). This latest study by the Observatório das Desigualdades (Observatory of
Inequalities) also noted that precariousness is not confined to the labour issue and
affects the multiple dimensions and sectors of the social life of the youth.
Within this national context, between 2010 and 2016, around 96,000 Portuguese
emigrated each year the peak was registered in 2014, with the departure of 134,624
Portuguese citizens.
3
According to data collected on the website of the Observatório da
Emigração (Observatory of Emigration), which cited data from the United Nations, in
2015 the percentage of Portuguese emigrants living in Europe was 62%, whilst in 1990
it was 53%. Besides this sudden and high number of emigrants, it should be noted, as
Jorge Malheiros points out, that this migrant movement is distinct from that of the
1960s and 1970s: (i) Europe is a diverse emigration space, since it is an area of free
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3
See “Estimates of the total Portuguese emigrants, 2000-2015” at the Observatory of Emigration.
Accessed on July 18, 2017.
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movement and (ii) “a substantial part of this emigration takes on a temporary and not
a definitive logic, which is also favoured by the possibilities of free movement” (2011:
135).
As already mentioned, this investigation took place in 2016, the eighth year of the
greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. The country was
experiencing economic crisis and the consequences of austerity measures imposed by
the triad of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European
Commission. All these factors have had serious implications on the lives and life
prospects of many young Portuguese graduates: discouragement, job insecurity and
unemployment (Cairns, 2015: 10; Cairns, 2017: 340).
There are several studies that registered the impact of the economic crisis on the lives
of young Europeans at the beginning of the 21
st
century (see Cairns, 2017;
Papadopoulos, 2014; Dietrich, 2013; Aassve, Cottini & Vitali, 2013; Bell &
Blanchflower, 2011; Scarpetta, Sonnet & Manfredi, 2010). During the economic crisis,
the overall unemployment rate in Europe increased by 3.3% between 2007 and 2013,
whilst the youth unemployment increased further, reaching 7.3% in the 20-24 age
group and 5.1 % for those between 25-29 years of age (see OECD, 2013). That is, on
the Old Continent the percentage of young people (20-24 years) unemployed reached
levels higher than double the overall percentage of unemployment. This trend has been
observed in several European countries, such as the Republic of Ireland, Greece,
Cyprus, Spain. Germany was the only exception as its youth unemployment rate (20-
24 years) decreased by 3.3% between 2007 and 2012 (i.e. from 9.8% to 6.5%) (see
OECD, 2013). Despite the differential impact of the crisis, previous studies show that
international labour mobility after graduation is one of the most frequent options in the
vast majority of countries, even though it is transitory.
Mobility is understood here as the geographical movement between borders, for
countries other than the one of origin, with a minimum stay of two weeks (Kmiotek-
Meier, Carignani & Vysotskaya, 2019: 32). At this point, it is also crucial to distinct
between “mobility” and “emigration” as there has been a change in terminology in
recent years and the first term is preferable to the second, according to King, Lulle,
Morosanu and Williams (2016: 8). This change is due to the fact that mobility is a
politically more neutral term whereas emigration has a long past and is seen in many
countries as a threat (King & Lulle, 2016: 30-31). Thus, emigration implies a
displacement to a country where one stays for longer periods of time sometimes even
permanently whilst mobility is characterised by a more transient movement.
Engbersen and Snel (2013) suggest the term “liquid migration to refer to this type of
intra-frontier displacement in European Union, which currently has various forms: work
trips, academic/professional internships, study programs, exchanges of various type,
among others. King, Lulle, Morosanu and Williams (2016: 9) observed a tendency in
Europe for the use of the term “mobility” when describing movements between
European countries since it is more suitable for the motto of “freedom of movement”
and the use of “emigration” to indicate displacements outside the European area.
At this point, it is also worth clarifying the term “youth”. Like the other age categories
childhood, middle age or old ageyouth is a socially and culturally constructed
category and not a concept defined chronologically, and there is no unanimity about it.
In other words, youth/young is a plastic, contextual, situational and, above all, a
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relational concept as it is defined in relation to or to the transition between another
age category (King, Lulle, Morosanu & Williams, 2016: 9).
According to Pordata
4
data, the highest rate of youth mobility was registered in 2012,
including people in the 15-19, 20-24 and 25-29 age groups. Amongst them, the highest
number corresponds to the 25-29 age group, and there is a decreasing trend from
2012 onwards (see Table 2).
Table 2. Portuguese mobility numbers by age group (2008-2015)
Total
15-19
20-24
25-29
30-34
35-39
40-44
45-49
50-54
55-59
60-64
65+
2008
20.357
1.251
4.393
5.377
3.124
1.512
868
237
7
0
0
0
2009
16.899
1.039
3.649
4.465
2.593
1.256
720
196
6
0
0
0
2010
23.760
1.460
5.127
6.276
3.644
1.765
1.013
277
8
0
0
0
2011
43.998
3.277
6.237
6.097
5.075
3.952
3.044
3.032
1.520
611
118
553
2012
51.958
4.378
10.563
11.022
7.184
5.383
3.753
3.505
1.579
990
248
510
2013
53.786
2,775
9.722
8.917
6.303
5.821
5.499
4.898
3.047
1.774
942
1.827
2014
49.572
2.661
8.776
8.122
5.596
5.250
5.159
4.588
3.040
1.723
964
1.776
2015
40.377
2.705
7.266
8.146
5.601
4.189
3.652
3.147
1.878
1.048
290
356
Source: Pordata (last update in October 28, 2016).
In the book Return to the future: The new emigration and the Portuguese society,
researchers identify two trends: one of those moving to other European countries (the
youngest and the less educated) and those moving outside Europe (the less young and
more skilled). The same study shows that, generally, Angola, Mozambique, Brazil and
the United Kingdom are the destination for the most qualified individuals, and that in
2015 the United Kingdom was the country where most Portuguese emigrated: 32,300
(see Observatory of Emigration). On the other hand, the flow to Angola and
Mozambique is more appealing to less-young professionals and is closely associated
with transfers of employees from Portuguese companies. The book also denies that
Portugal has lost half a million people to emigration since the beginning of the crisis, as
the media sometimes affirms (see Santos, 2016). In fact, although the INE counts
485,128 displacements between 2011 and 2014, many of them last less than one year
between 2011 and 2016, this type of movement rose from 56% to 63%. Despite this
aspect as well as the return of some of those who had left, the truth is that during the
financial and economic crisis an unprecedented number of recent graduates leaving
Portugal was observed. It was in this context and before this evidence that this study
was carried out.
The article is structured into four sections. In this first one, which also corresponds to
the introduction, the European and Portuguese context during the economic and
financial crisis in relation to the unemployment and emigration number was generally
presented, since it was during this period that the survey was applied. In addition, the
main studies that analysed the effects of the economic crisis on European youth were
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4
Data verified according to the numbers made available by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE) the
National Statistical Institute of Portugal.
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introduced and the concepts of mobility and youth were defined. In the second section,
the objectives of the study, research design, data collection instrument, process and
context of the survey application are described. Subsequently, the results are
presented. In the last section, the main conclusions and limitations of this study are
highlighted as well as the possibilities of future investigations.
2. Methodology
2.1. Study objectives
This study intends to analyse the perceptions of the students of the School of
Management, Hospitality and Tourism of the Universidade do Algarve (ESGHT-UAlg)
regarding their professional future and perspectives on international mobility. This
school was chosen because it is the one with the highest number of students at this
public university (approximately 2,000 students). Thus, the study objectives are:
to analyse the professional perspectives, both in general terms and in relation to the
national labour market, and to identify in what aspects they differ;
to examine the relationship between the various professional aspects considered and
the predisposition for international labour mobility;
to characterise the predisposition for international mobility, both labour and
academic, according to demographic characteristics and language skills.
2.2. Research design
This research was based on an ex post facto and descriptive design, using a probing
survey as a method of collecting primary data. The fourteen questions included in the
questionnaire, resulting from bibliographic research and consultation of similar studies,
are grouped into four sections: professional perspectives; international mobility (labour
and academic); language skills and demographic characteristics (age, gender, course,
year).
Regarding professional perspectives, two Likert-type scales are used to assess both the
importance that respondents generally attribute to certain aspects of working life (1 -
not important to 5 - extremely important) and to the perspective of having a future
work in Portugal (1 - very bad to 5 - very good). The aspects considered are:
employment opportunities; stability and security; remuneration conditions; possibility
of career ladder; good relationship with colleagues and superiors; flexible hours; work
that safeguards health and well-being; work with social prestige.
In the section on international mobility, respondents indicated if they have studied or
considered studying abroad (international academic mobility) as well as if they have
considered the possibility of working abroad (international labour mobility). If so, they
had to rank their three preferred countries; and, if not, they had to indicate the
influence that the recent terrorist attacks in European cities could have on this decision
(none, a little, much). They were also asked to: identify family members with
emigration experience (current or past); associate a word with “emigration”; and
express their level of agreement with the statement “Two years from now the crisis will
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have ended and the employment situation in Portugal will be better than today”, (1 -
strongly disagree to 5 - completely agree).
In relation to language skills, respondents were asked to indicate the number of failures
to curricular units of languages and the classification obtained in those they concluded.
They should also self-assess their knowledge of English, German and Spanish
(insufficient, sufficient, good or excellent) and indicate an English language certification
exam.
2.3. Data collection and sample characterisation
As already mentioned, the target population was the students of the ESGHT-UAlg. This
institution is located in Faro, the capital of the province of Algarve: the southernmost
province of Portugal and the most touristic region of the country. The university, one of
the fourteen Portuguese public universities, was created in 1979 and brings together
two pre-existing institutions: the Universidade do Algarve (University of Algarve) and
the Instituto Politécnico de Faro (Faro Polytechnic Institute).
The questionnaire was applied to a non-probabilistic sample of convenience to 425
students from the three years of the ESGHT-UAlg (Management, Tourism, Marketing
and Hotel Management) degrees (see Table 3). The application was carried out in a
classroom situation in two different moments: in January and June, 2016. The collected
data were individually verified and analysed through the SPSS vs. 23 program.
Table 3. Distribution of students by degree and year of undergraduate degree
Course
Total
Students / Year
Number of
students
% Students
1st
2nd
3rd
Management
143
33.6
33.3%
26.92%
44.71%
Tourism
121
28.5
31.43%
33.08%
14.12%
Marketing
72
16.9
13.81%
21.54%
17.65%
Hotel Management
89
20.9
21.43%
18.46%
23.53%
3. Results presentation
5
3.1. Characterisation of the respondents
The average age of the students surveyed was 22 years, with no significant differences
between the various courses (Table 4). For the first years, the average age for all
courses is 21 years old; and for the second, it is 22 years old in Management and
Tourism and 21 in Marketing and Hotel Management. There is no significant differences
in both cases (Kruskall-Wallis tests with p = 0.51 and 0.50, respectively).
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5
All tests presented are performed with a significance level of 5%.
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Table 4. Average age per course
Course
Average age
Kruskall-Wallis
X
2
p
Management
22
6.13
0.11
Tourism
22
Marketing
21
Hotel Management
21
Regarding the third years, the students of Management have an average age above the
global average and significantly higher than the ones of Tourism and Hotel
Management (Table 5).
Table 5. Average age for 3rd year
Course (3rd year)
(𝑿=24)
Average age
Kruskall-Wallis
Fisher's LSD
X2
p
Management
25
9.96
0.02
Gestão Tur; GH
Tourism
22
Marketing
24
Hotel Management
23
Although weak (V of Cramer = 0.2), there is an association between the gender of the
students and the course attended (Chi-square = 17.68; p = 0.001), especially for
Management as it is the only one to present a majority of male students. All the
courses are mostly attended by female students, with the highest percentage in
Tourism (see Table 6).
Table 6. Distribution of students by degree and gender
Course
Gender
%
Management
Female
45.5%
Male
54.5%
Tourism
Female
69.2%
Male
30.8%
Marketing
Female
65.3%
Male
34.7%
Hotel Management
Female
52.8%
Male
47.2%
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3.2. Professional perspective and predisposition for international labour
mobility
In relation to their future professional life, the factors most valued by students both
in general terms and in each course are employment opportunities and the possibility
of career ladder, followed by stability and security, and fourthly the remuneration
conditions. The same aspects, when evaluated from the perspective of professional life
in Portugal, present significantly lower values. Amongst them, the best-classified ones
are related to the good relationship with colleagues/superiors and the safeguard of
health and well-being (Table 7).
Table 7. Valorisation of professional aspects
Perspective of future professional life
Average Values
Test t paired samples
General
(4.41)
Portugal
(3.24)
t
p
Employment opportunities
4.54
3.19
25.30
0.00
Stability and security
4.29
3.30
17.44
0.00
Remuneration conditions
4.21
2.97
20.49
0.00
Possibility of career ladder
4.43
3.13
23.12
0.00
Good relationship with colleagues and superiors
4.19
3.70
10.93
0.00
Flexible hours
3.69
3.17
10.61
0.00
Safeguard of health and well-being
4.17
3.49
13.68
0.00
Social prestige
3.30
2.96
6.99
0.00
When evaluated from the perspective of the professional future, none of these aspects
are associated with the predisposition for international labour mobility as well as in
relation to a professional future in Portugal. In this perspective, there is a dependence
between this predisposition and the evaluation of the aspects “Stability and security”,
“Remuneration conditions” and “Social prestige” (respectively: X
2
= 10.81, p = 0.03; X
2
= 14.64, p = 0.06; X
2
= 12.95, p = 0.01). The lower the rating the respondents
attribute to them, the greater the percentage of those who say they consider working
abroad.
Although there is no association between the possibility of mobility and the gender of
the students, it was found that contrary to the results found by Cairns (2017), in
which only 35% of Portuguese students say they want to leave the country the
majority (69.6%) of our respondents consider this possibility, which is observed for
both girls (66.8%) and boys (73.2%). In Cairns’s study (2017: 342), female students
are the ones who most consider international mobility (57% versus 43%).
The predisposition for international labour mobility, according to the students’ ages, is
higher in the younger students (Table 8).
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Table 8. Labour mobility by age
Age range
(X
2
=8.73; p=0.00)
Possibility of working abroad
Yes
No
< 25 years old
71.7%
28.3%
25 years old
51%
49%
(% by line)
More specifically, those between the ages of 20 and 24 have a more expressive
predisposition. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development OECD (2013), this age group suffered the greatest worsening in the
unemployment rate between 2007 and 2013 (Table 9).
Table 9. Labour mobility by age group
Age range
(X
2
=9.80; p=0.02)
Possibility of working abroad
Yes
No
< 20 years old
69.7%
30.3%
20-24 years old
74.8%
25.2%
25-29 years old
51.9%
48.1%
> 29 years old
50%
50%
(% by line)
Although in all courses most students indicate that they consider working abroad, the
application of the Chi-square test indicates that these variables are not independent.
Even though the association between them is weak (Cramer’s V = 0.23), it can be
concluded that Management students have a lower predisposition for an international
work experience, since they are the ones who register a less expressive majority (Table
10). This situation may not be unrelated to the fact that this is the course of the
ESGHT, that has the lowest level of unemployment (5.5%), according to data from the
Directorate-General of Education and Science (2016).
Table 10. Job mobility per course
Course
(X
2
=22.30; p=0.00)
Possibility of working abroad
Yes
No
Management
56.7%
43.3%
Tourism
80.2%
19.8%
Marketing
64.8%
35.2%
Hotel Management
79.5%
20.5%
(% by line)
Both for these courses and all the students surveyed, the preferential countries are the
United Kingdom (32.8%), the United States (12.3%) and Germany (10.6%), countries
not so strongly affected by the economic crisis of 2008 similar to what Cairns (2017:
344) observed. Compared to these countries and according to the typology presented
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Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-October 2019), pp. 125-142
International mobility of a community of students from the Universidade do Algarve
Margarida Viegas, Rita Baleiro
!
135
!
by Hemming, Schlimbach, Tilmann, Nienaber, Roman and Skrobanek (2019: 49),
Portugal is classified as a “beneficiary of mobility”, presenting a reduced capacity to
produce human capital
6
but largely benefiting from the development of this capital in
young people who experience mobility.
Confronting the results with those reported by Cairns (2017: 343), it was found that
our respondents, when asked about the country of preferential destination, seem to
give less importance to the fact that English is spoken there (54.0%), a much inferior
value than what the author indicated (87%).
One of the questions in the questionnaire required students to freely associate a word
with the word “emigration”. All the words indicated by the students are positive:
“opportunity” (22.6%), “work” (8.4%) and “better life (8.1%), which can be
understood as a sign of an optimistic attitude towards the perspective of leaving
Portugal.
From the 128 (30.1%) students who do not consider working abroad, the majority are
female (62.5%), under 25 years old (81.3%), and most of them attend (47.7%) the
Management course. Concern over recent terrorist attacks is not a relevant factor for
this option because the overwhelming majority (82%) say that this factor has little or
no influence.
When asked about their agreement with the statement “Two years from now the crisis
will have ended and the employment situation in Portugal will be better than today”, it
was found that only 17% of students believe that the crisis and unemployment
situation will be resolved in the near futurea result lower than the 21.6% obtained by
Lobo, Ferreira and Rowland (2015) for residents in Portugal above 15 years old.
3.3. Predisposition for international academic mobility
The area of Migration Studies deals with the analysis of the cross-border circulation of
young people who attended or have recently attended higher education. Within this
area, there is the field of research on International Student Mobility (ISM), which
analyses the displacement of young people, either to study at a foreign university or to
undertake an internship outside their country. In general, this mobility is due to
European mobility programs such as Erasmus of the European Commission (see
Gonzalez, Mesanza & Mariel, 2011; and Oborune, 2013, for example). Another focus of
ISM research is those students who choose to study abroad for longer periods of time
than European agency programs allow. In these cases, students rely on the help of
their parents and/or the nearest family, or travel on their own, as they often choose to
work before studying abroad (see, for example, Altbach & Knight, 2007; and Smith,
Rérat & Sage, 2014).
According to the International Organisation for Migration (2018) report, students’
international academic mobility increased globally from around 3.9 million in 2011 to
4.8 million in 2017.
In this study, the majority (60.67%) of the students interviewed consider the possibility
of studying abroad, and the same was verified in each of the courses. In spite of the
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6
Hemming, Schlimbach, Tilmann, Nienaber, Roman and Skrobanek (2019: 46) define human capital as a
set of skills that contribute to labour productivity and in which individuals can invest.
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-October 2019), pp. 125-142
International mobility of a community of students from the Universidade do Algarve
Margarida Viegas, Rita Baleiro
!
136
!
weak association (Cramér’s V = 0.16), the Chi-square test indicates, however, that the
predisposition to study abroad is not independent from the course. It was verified that
Management students, along with the ones from the highest age group (Table 12), are
those who are less likely to have an international student experience (Table 11).
Table 11. Student mobility per course
Courses
(X
2
=11.00; p=0.01)
Possibility of studying abroad
Yes
No
Management
50.7%
49.3%
Tourism
61.0%
39.0%
Marketing
68.6%
31.4%
Hotel Management
70.1%
29.9%
(% by line)
Table 12. Student mobility by age
Age range
(X
2
=6.10; p=0.01)
Possibility of studying abroad
Yes
No
< 25 years old
63.1%
36.9%
25 years old
45,1%
54.9%
(% by line)
Despite the weak association (Phi = 0.25), the majority (68.5%) of students who
consider the possibility of working abroad also consider the possibility of studying
abroad (Table 13).
Table 13. Student/Professional mobility
Working abroad
(X
2
=24.91; p=0.00)
Studying abroad
Yes
No
Yes
68.5%
31.5%
No
42.5%
57.5%
(% by line)
3.4. International mobility and languages
With regard to students’ self-assessment of their language skills, the majority (70.5%)
of them have a “good” and “excellent” level only in English; whilst 44.3% and 3.6% in
Spanish and German respectively (Table 14).
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-October 2019), pp. 125-142
International mobility of a community of students from the Universidade do Algarve
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Table 14. Self-assessment of English, German and Spanish skills
Self-assessment of language skills
English
German
Spanish
Insufficient
5%
78.2%
13.8%
Sufficient
24.5%
18.2%
41.9%
Good
48.0%
3.6%
34.8%
Excellent
22.5%
0.0%
9.5%
(% by column)
Analysing the self-assessments of each language by course, it can be observed, for
English and German, an association, although weak, between these two variables
(contingency coefficient, respectively, of 0.23 and 0.37). In the case of English
language, most of the evaluations are “good”, with a greater percentage of “good” and
“excellent” in the courses of Hotel Management and Tourism (Table 15).
Table 15. Self-assessment of English skills by course
Course
(X
2
=23.62; p=0.00)
Self-assessment of English skills
Insufficient
Sufficient
Good
Excellent
Management
6.3%
33.8%
47.2%
12.7%
Tourism
6.7%
17.6%
46.2%
29.4%
Marketing
2.8%
25.0%
43.1%
29.2%
Hotel Management
2.3%
18.2%
55.7%
23.9%
(% by line)
There was no “excellent” evaluation for German language, and the majority was
classified as insufficient. Once again, it is in the courses mentioned above that the best
results were found (Table 16).
Table 16. Self-assessment of German skills by course
Course
(X
2
=66.39;
p=0.00)
Self-assessment of German skills
Insufficient
Sufficient
Good
Management
92.1%
5.7%
2.1%
Tourism
59.7%
31.9%
8.4%
Marketing
95.8%
2.8%
1.4%
Hotel Management
67.0%
31.8%
1.1%
(% by line)
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-October 2019), pp. 125-142
International mobility of a community of students from the Universidade do Algarve
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Regarding failures in language disciplines, the majority (79.4%) of the students
surveyed, both in global terms (Table 17) and in each of the courses (Table 18), never
failed.
Table 17. Failures in Curricular Language Modules
Curricular Units of Languages
Never failed
79.4%
Failed one
10.6%
Failed twice
5%
Failed more than twice
5%
(% by column)
Although the association between the course and the number of failures (Coef
Contingency = 0.29) is weak, the application of the Chi-square test indicates that the
variables are not independent, which leads us to conclude, based on the contingency
table below (Table 18), which is in the courses of Tourism and Hotel Management that
there is a greater frequency of two or more disapprovals.
Table 18. Failures in Languages by Course
Course
(X
2
=17.73; p=0.04)
Situation regarding language disciplines
Never failed
Failed one
Failed twice
Failed more than
twice
Management
89.9%
7.2%
1.4%
1.4%
Tourism
74.5%
12.7%
7.3%
5.5%
Marketing
87.5%
9.4%
0.0%
3.1%
Hotel Management
62.8%
14.0%
11.6%
11.6%
(% by line)
The overwhelming majority (91%) of students declared that they have never taken an
English language certification exam. Although this certificate is independent of the
course attended (X
2
= 4.29, p = 0.23), the percentage of certificate amongst Hotel
Management students is higher (Table 19).
Table 19. English Language Certifications
Courses
English language certificate
No
Yes
Management
92.1%
7.9%
Tourism
92.4%
7.6%
Marketing
93.1%
6.9%
Hotel Management
85.4%
14.6%
(% by line)
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 10, Nº. 1 (May-October 2019), pp. 125-142
International mobility of a community of students from the Universidade do Algarve
Margarida Viegas, Rita Baleiro
!
139
!
When analysing the relationship between the predisposition for international labour
mobility and languages, an association, although weak (Phi = 0.18), was identified only
for the self-assessment of English language. There is a greater predisposition for this
experience amongst students who best assessed their knowledge in this language
(Table 20).
Table 20. Job mobility / Self-assessment of English
Self-assessment of
English (X
2
=24.44;
p=0.00)
Possibility of working abroad
Yes
No
Insufficient-Sufficient
52.4
47.6
Good-Excellent
76.8
23.2
(% by line)
With respect to international student mobility, there was no association between the
predisposition to study abroad and the students’ confidence in their language skills for
any of the languages considered (English: X
2
= 4.13, p = 0.25; German: X
2
= 0.09, p
= 0.96; Spanish: X
2
= 1.34, p = 0.72).
Conclusions
The job aspects most valued by the students surveyed, both in global terms and in
each of the courses, are “job opportunities” and “possibility of career ladder”, followed
by “stability and security”, and, only in the fourth place, by “remuneration conditions”.
The same aspects, when evaluated from the perspective of a professional future in
Portugal, present significantly lower values. Amongst them, the most highly rated are
“good relationship with colleagues/superiors” and “health and well-being”. However,
these are not amongst the most important aspects for the respondents.
Although all aspects of the national labour market are worse classified, only the low
expectations regarding “stability and security”, “remuneration conditions” and “social
prestige” influence the predisposition for international labour mobility.
Contrary to the results found by Cairns (2017), the majority (69.6%) of the students
stated that they considered working abroad, which is observed for both female (66.8%)
and male (73.2% %). This predisposition is higher in those between the ages of 20 and
24, precisely the age group that, according to the OECD (2013), experienced the
greatest worsening in the unemployment rate between 2007 and 2013. From the
preferential destinations, most of them (54%) are English-speaking, with the UK in first
place. It should be remembered this English is the only language with a majority
(70.5%) of “good” and “excellent” assessments.
The main words associated with the term “emigration have a positive connotation
(“opportunity”, “work”, “better life”). Taking into account that the words we choose