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What is Portuguese?

Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. It is the sole official language of countries on three continents: Brazil (South America), Portugal (Europe), and Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé e Príncipe (Africa). It also has co-official language status in Macau and East Timor (Asia) as well as in Equatorial Guinea.

Why Study Portuguese?

A minor in Portuguese is an excellent complement to degrees in journalism, business, global and international studies, international relations, communications, anthropology, film and media studies, or journalism. It prepares you to use spoken and written Portuguese effectively in a professional setting, to analyze complex problems, to write clearly, and to engage in cross-cultural communication. These are key skills for fields like public relations, management, journalism, government, education, translation/interpretation, law, and nonprofits. Students can also pursue graduate study in Luso-Brazilian studies, Latin American studies, comparative literature, history, or education.

If you already have a good grasp of Spanish, you have an edge in learning Portuguese; there are many similarities between the two languages.

Potential Careers

Penn State students with a minor in Portuguese received fellowships as Fulbright teaching assistants in Brazil and have pursued a range of internships and career opportunities in fields such as technology, management, journalism, education, government, and law. Given students’ ability to communicate in Portuguese, they are prepared to work with Portuguese-speaking populations and clients in important markets like Brazil, Portugal, and Angola.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Penn State students with a minor in Portuguese are prepared to pursue graduate study of master’s or doctorate work in Portuguese/Luso-Brazilian studies, Latin American studies, or comparative literature. They could also further their study of Portuguese language in a linguistics or applied linguistics program, or pursue master’s degrees in translation, interpretation, education, journalism, public policy, or international relations. Given their strong communication skills and training to think analytically, students with a Portuguese minor are also excellent candidates for attending law school.

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