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Why Portuguese?

Studying Portuguese

Fulfills the language requirement (PORT 101, 102, and 201) for graduation, but learning Portuguese offers so many other benefits.

Strategic advantages of choosing to study Portuguese at Dickinson College:

  • Unique and high-demand language skill
  • Not a commonly taught language in the U.S.
  • Portuguese is the 6th most widely spoken language in the world (more than 215 million people speak it as a native language)
  • The official language in 10 different countries across Africa, America, Asia, and Europe. It is spoken all over the world!
  • Official language of Brazil (largest country in Latin America that shares borders with 10 of 12 South American nations)
  • Brazil is one of the largest economies in the world (7th in GDP according to the World Bank) and is regularly elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council
  • Angola and Mozambique are experiencing some of highest GDP growth rates in the world
  • 1.2 million Brazilians and another 1.2 million Portuguese and Portuguese descendants live in the U.S.
  • If you already speak intermediate Spanish, French, or Italian, learning Portuguese through PORT 200 is easy!

After graduation, alumni who learned Portuguese at Dickinson College have found work or continued their study in the following: 

  • Social and social justice work (City College, AmeriCorps)
  • Project Coordinator for a Consulting Business
  • Communications and Outreach Manager
  • Study Abroad Agent / Education Abroad Advisor
  • Fulbright ETA (English Teaching Assistants) in Brazil
  • English Teaching Assistant Mentor at Fulbright Commission in the U.S.
  • Teacher (in the U.S. or abroad)
  • Graduate school (psychology, architecture, law school, economics, and other fields) 

What our Students Say:

"I decided to study Portuguese because I wanted to learn a language that could correlate with my major as well as further my understanding of Latin America. Studying Portuguese, however, has opened an entirely new set of cultures and societies to learn about. The Portuguese department does not only focus on teaching you a language but also educates you about social problems and encourages you to become fluent in understanding more about the world."

-Elizabeth Marín LALC‘18

“Learning Portuguese opened my mind to a whole new other me. The expressions, vocabulary and literature hold special meanings that do not exist in other languages. Taking Portuguese at Dickinson opened my eyes to the beauty that the language holds. Professor Castellanos, taught us more than just grammar, but had her students analyze the cultural ties of the language, through songs, literature, and customs. It is an experience that everyone should seek!”

-Erika Rabura LALC and SPAN'14

"I decided to study Portuguese because I felt I had a great foundation for Spanish and wanted to expand my language learning! I also knew in the future I would want to have a career in a multilingual setting and Portuguese seemed like a great step for me. Learning Portuguese was a great experience! While I was only able to take two semesters, the courses were structured in a way where you could constantly see progress and always had the opportunity to practice not only listening and reading, but also speaking and writing, which are so important in learning a new language and often not adequately addressed. Continuous feedback and opportunity to practice in all language domains meant that by the end of two semesters I felt I had a solid foundation of grammar, vocabulary and academic and social language which could be applied to real life scenarios. I would have loved to have been able to take more Portuguese courses!"

-Catherine Schopp LALC and SPAN'14

"As a LALC major focusing on U.S.- Brazilian relations, I felt it was important to study the Brazilian perspective in their own language. Not only that, any position worth having in the realm of Brazil and foreign policy was going to require a command of Portuguese. Even though I have changed fields and do not use Portuguese for work, I am still very happy that I learned it and continue to look for ways to improve it. Studying abroad in Brazil and learning Portuguese was an amazing experience that allowed me to communicate and learn so much. I have found myself in many situations, at work and otherwise, where there was a need for a Portuguese speaker. It may not always seem obvious, but speaking Portuguese is a marketable skill that will present a variety of opportunities, both professionally and personally."

-Justine Davenport IS and LALC’13

"I decided to study Portuguese in order to study abroad in São Paulo, Brazil. At first I was only able to audit the class, but I found that I had some foundational knowledge because I was studying Spanish at the same time. Even though learning the new language and adjusting to an unfamiliar accent were challenging, Profa. Castellanos made every class interactive and enjoyable - we did projects, gave presentations, sang, and danced our way to Portuguese proficiency! My experience as a student with Profa. Castellanos was ótima (great) and I felt prepared to use my language skills in Brazil. While abroad, I truly developed a passion for Portuguese and continued taking classes on Brazilian literature and culture when I returned to Dickinson. I am so glad that I decided to audit that first class because it propelled me on a Portuguese language journey that has continued to intrigue and interest me even five years later - I am currently in grad school and join Portuguese classes whenever I have the opportunity and take every chance I can to talk with other Portuguese speakers, both learners and heritage speakers (fortunately, there are many on my current campus)! "

-Alex Agiliga AFST and PSYC'13