Universidade do Porto : Orientating newcomers

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A multi-faceted guide unusually takes a 'work-life' balance.

The Site

The University of Porto provides detailed information about the practicalities of living in the city as well as about academic life and campus facilities.

Universidade do Porto’s English-language home page has a link to Foreign Student Guide, an index page for background information on various aspects of university life. These are grouped under four main headings: Information on the Institution, Information on Degree Programmes, Description of Individual Course Units and General Information. The latter covers 15 topics including Cost of Living, Accommodation, Medical Facilities and Well Being, Facilities for Students with Special Needs, Language Courses, Sports Facilities, and Extra-mural and Leisure Activities.

In addition, a separate Options menu offers The City – Live in Porto and The Country – Portugal. Both have an overview page and more links to related aspects of the topic.

The Takeaway

The University of Porto provides something that surprisingly few large organisations – academic or commercial – do, at least on their external site, namely an orientation guide for newcomers which has a ‘work-life’ perspective. Two features are particularly noteworthy. First, the guide covers both the campus (office/plant) and the surrounding area, which will be of equal interest to people moving there. And it deals with aspects of personal life – health and leisure, for example – as well as study/work related-issues.

By putting the guide on the public site, rather than confining it to an intranet, the university expands a useful service not only to students just joining it but also to those still researching their options. As such it becomes a hands-off recruitment tool as well as a personnel management resource.


First published on 29 April, 2008