Portuguese Language Course at PUC-RIO

18 March 2019

Wilfred Taylor utilised the long summer break to progress his Portugese through a language course at PUC-RIO. His attendance on the programme was also supported by the Santander Universities Mobility Bursary.

puc rio
Wilfred Taylor, History and Philosophy of Science

During the 2018 summer break from my undergraduate studies at UCL I attended PUC-Rio’s (the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro) Intensive, Portuguese as a second language course alongside approximately sixty other international students. The course was a month long and consisted of four hours of classes with approximately two hours of coursework per day. Each class had less than ten students at a time and were very accurately streamed to accommodate for varying levels of experience in Portuguese or close languages such as Spanish and Italian. 

The course followed a logical and challenging progression which took me from an entry-level understanding of Portuguese grammar to a conversational proficiency within a month. Attending the course entailed access to all facilities and social events hosted by the university, specific events organised for attendees of the intensive course such as sightseeing opportunities across the city and state of Rio de Janeiro as well as the option to stay with a Brazilian host family for the duration of the course and longer if desired. 

The course has allowed me to finish my degree with legitimate confidence in my spoken and written understanding and expression of a second language, thus providing me with future access to work and study opportunities across the Portuguese speaking world. On a personal level, attending the course allowed me to fully engage with Brazilian culture, travel across the country and make meaningful friendships and social connections in Brazil, which would have been exceedingly difficult if not impossible to establish otherwise. My favourite feature of the programme was the access it gave me to a huge variety of new, interesting as well as likeminded individuals both taking part in the course as well as other students and academics associated with PUC. 


Travelling and studying in Brazil carries its own unique and unexpected challenges. Chief among these is the level of bureaucracy that one must navigate, especially when dealing within the federal government. However, the high level of attendance on the course as well as the helpfulness of the administrators meant that I was able to obtain useful guidance on how best to resolve such issues in all situations with relative ease. 

I would highly recommend that all students undertake a short-term global opportunity during their studies. In my experience, it provides one with unparalleled access and opportunity to experience the culture of another country and educational institution as well as to make lifelong connections with other outgoing people from all walks of life and academia. The opportunity has broadened my perspective on my education and future career opportunities whilst simultaneously giving me a refreshing and constructive break from my studies at UCL. 

rio beach