5 Reasons to Register for Portuguese 101

Class registration begins this week, and you may not know that the U of R now offers Portuguese classes! Portuguese 101 was added last fall after some students expressed interest in learning the language. Unfortunately, enrollment for the course was pretty low since most students weren't even aware it was being offered, and they almost had to cancel it after working so hard to create the course.  

For Fall 2015, U of R will continue to offer Elementary Portuguese 1 (POR 101), along with Intermediate Portuguese (POR 151). 

Not familiar with Portuguese? I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a language worth learning, no matter what your career aspirations. I learned Brazilian Portuguese after spending a year in Brazil, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful, musical languages, along with being extremely useful in the professional world.  

I know, I know…so many classes, so little time, right? That’s why I’ve come up with 5 reasons you should consider adding Portuguese 101 to your schedule. 



Reason 1: Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world. 

It’s the official language of not only Portugal and Brazil but also Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Macau (China), Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, and Goa (India). That’s 4 continents and 11 countries. Portuguese is all over the world, and UNESCO estimates that by 2050 there will be 335 million Portuguese speakers. All the more reason to become one of them!

Reason 2: It’s easy! (Really, though.) 

Portuguese is a Romance language, which means it’s in the same family as Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian. If you have experience with any of those languages, Portuguese will be easier to learn. The same goes vice versa: learning Portuguese will help you learn other Romance languages. Because I had studied Spanish for a few years, I was able to pick up Portuguese more quickly than friends of mine who hadn't. In my opinion, the hardest part of learning Portuguese is the pronunciation, which is very nasal, but once you get that down it’s pretty fun to speak. I just walk around saying “pão de queijo, pão de queijo, pão de queijo” (which is DELICIOUS by the way, look here). Other than that, it's a relatively easy language to learn.    

Reason 3: Brazil’s economy is one of the largest in the world--and it continues to grow.

Brazil has the 7th largest economy in the world, and the 2nd largest in the western hemisphere after the U.S. Needless to say, trade between the U.S. and Brazil has increased a lot in the past few years and is likely to keep increasing. Knowing Portuguese = jobs. 

Reason 4: Not very many English speakers speak Portuguese, which means less competition.

Want to stand out from the crowd? Plenty of English speakers learn Spanish, French, German, even Mandarin, but Portuguese? Not so many. At most of the job interviews I’ve had, my interviewers haven’t seemed too impressed that I speak Spanish, since I'm sure most applicants have some Spanish skills, but always say, “Wow, you speak Portuguese? How did you learn that?” 

Reason 5: Brazil will host the 2016 Olympic games, which means employment and volunteer opportunities. 

Having skills in Brazil’s native language will give you a leg up if you want to help out at the Olympics! Volunteering at the Olympics would look fantastic on your resume. (P.S. - Time is running out to apply if you're interested!)  


Hopefully I've convinced you by now, but for more information contact Professor Teresa Valdez at [email protected]. She’s from Portugal, is really sweet and enthusiastic, and will be happy to talk with you about her courses.

There is also a Portuguese conversation group at U of R for those who don’t have room in their schedule but are still interested in learning or practicing! Get in touch with Leonardo Dettori at [email protected]

Good luck with registration, tchau!