DMLL Portuguese Student Testimonials


Stephan Hughes, BA Spanish

Stephan read 4 courses in Portuguese (2 years) in the former Department of Liberal Arts, and moved to Rio de Janeiro where he has resided over the last 15 years. Here is Stephan's story.


Sophie Leps

Olá, como vai? Want to learn about Zumbi and what a Quilombo is? What about Brazilian myths and folklore? Do they have Papa Bois? Well, during the course PORT 1003 Introduction to Brazil Culture we learnt about all this and more. We learnt about current topics including social problems in Brazil, Carnival in Rio and elsewhere and common sayings in Brazilian Portuguese. You might even see your lecturer dance the samba. Take part in the study and work abroad programme. Grab the opportunity to interact with some Trinidadian Portuguese speakers, participate in BRASPO day,  meet the Brazilian Ambassador and eat brigadeiros. Come pursue the Minor in Brazilian studies!


Rebekah Marcano

Portuguese has been quite the experience. At each level, there are activities and classes that have been designed to stimulate the interest in the language, which was well instructed. We would watch videos and have debates, physical activities of cooking in Portuguese and learning about Brazilian culture in different ways. For me, Portuguese is not just a language but an enjoyable experience that merits continual development.


Indira Nowbut, BA Spanish with a Minor in Brazilian Studies

Being a student of the Minor in Brazilian Studies has definitely made my travel to Brazil more meaningful. Before studying the Portuguese language and Brazilian culture and literature, I used to view Brazil through many of the common stereotypes that abound. However, after beginning the course of study I soon realised that it was a country with an extremely rich past, a huge appreciation for its own national culture, and a country with probably one of the most resilient populations in the world. Over the three years, I have learnt not only how to effectively understand the language, but also how to successfully express myself in it.

Indira1Indira with Brazilian friends at the Estádio Beira-Rio in Rio Grande do Sul


Indira (third from left) meeting with some Kaingang speakers from Rio Grande do Sul

In December of 2014, I was able to scratch an item off my bucket list thanks to one of my Brazilian lecturers who invited me to visit her family there. The three weeks I spent were adventure-packed, every day being a completely new experience for me. One of the most beautiful aspects of my trip was that I was able to spend time in two states, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. In São Paulo, I visited numerous landmarks which I had learned about in the programme such as the Avenida Paulista, which is the financial district of the state, and the São Paulo Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Brazil.


In Rio Grande do Sul, I was blown away when I heard that I was going to meet members of an indigenous group - it was the Kaingang ethnic group. But it did not stop there as I was also surprised with a trip to one of the stadia used during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It was also heart-warming to see the great effort made in the promotion of national culture as many of the buses and staircases were adorned with paintings and poems from national artists. I even received inspiration for the business which the PORT 3004 Business Portuguese class created, after I returned from Brazil.


I would definitely recommend enrolling in the Brazilian Studies minor, and visiting the land which is now like my second home, Brazil, for both experiences definitely complement each other. To me, studying the Portuguese language as well as Brazilian history, society, culture and literature not only enables students to gain a vast amount of knowledge, but it also opens a wide range of employment opportunities, both in Trinidad & Tobago and Brazil!


Note: In 2013-2014, Indira won the Clarice Lispector Prize for Best Level II Portuguese Language Student and the Câmara Cascudo Prize for Brazilian Culture. See more on the Academic Prizes page.


Sean Taylor

I was a Portuguese language student at UWI for three years, and I have the privilege to be one of the first graduates with a Minor in Brazilian Studies.


What can I say about my Brazilian Studies experience? I think if I were to use one word to quantify the aggregate of nearly three years of work, I would use “adventure”. When you study any foreign language, I believe you’re not just processing a cognitive experience, but a cultural one as well. You don’t just simply learn how to converse in the language, but you also feel as if for just that split-second moment, that you belong to that culture as well. The latter has definitely been the case for me with this minor.


To me, it isn’t just the opportunity to learn Portuguese as well as work or live in Brazil or Portugal or Lusophone Africa or Asia, but it is the history of the South American country along with Lusofonia that really resonates with me. From the Moorish invasion of Portugal, to the Cabral expedition which led to the land of the True Cross, to the Tropicalia Movement, this minor offers opportunities to study a number of rich historical milestones in the Portuguese and Brazilian cultural landscapes.


In addition to the academic benefits, the lecturers and advisors are all engaging, coming with a world of first-hand experience with the culture. Among these include native speakers as well as Trinidadians who have lived in the country of the target language. So I take the opportunity through my experience to allude to just a sliver of the benefits that one can glean from embarking upon this exciting journey called Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. I encourage you to join the Lusophone family!