Portuguese Studies

Expand your horizons

The Portuguese program at UBC offers a variety of courses for students at many levels of language proficiency and understanding. The Portuguese program is designed to enhance active communication skills and to develop an appreciation of the various cultures of the Portuguese speaking world. UBC offers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year Portuguese language courses based on diverse cultural contexts, as well as Brazilian literature and culture courses offered in English.

The Portuguese program at UBC prepares students to diversify whatever career they choose because Portuguese is a truly global language. With more than 250 million speakers across every continent, it is the 7th most widely spoken language in the world. It is the official language of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, and São Tomé and Príncipe; it also retains a historical and linguistic presence in Macau (China), East Timor (Southeast Asia), and Goa (India). In addition, there are large communities of Portuguese speakers in many other countries. Over a million citizens of the United States are native speakers. In Canada, over 400 thousand citizens are of Portuguese descent.

The Portuguese language serves as a gateway to the rich diversity of Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) history, music, literature, cinema, and art. Portugal was once a rich empire with deep connections with England, participating in important colonizing expeditions around the world. Brazil has contributed immensely to world culture through soccer, music, cinema, and literature. From Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India at the end of the 15th century, to Brazil hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, Portuguese has long enjoyed a far-reaching cultural influence around the globe. Foremost among nations, Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world both in area and population.

With 200 million diverse people, Brazil is the world’s 9th largest economy, and it is home to one of the richest ecosystems on Earth. Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, and it is the second industrial power of the Americas. Brazil has contributed significantly to global culture with unforgettable music, soccer and cinema. Due to Brazil’s prominence on the global stage, Portuguese is considered one of the most strategically significant languages on the international scene.

What level of Portuguese should you start at given your previous experience with the language?