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The Portuguese Language

As the sixth most spoken language in the world, Portuguese opens doors to culture and commerce across Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Brazil, the largest Portuguese-speaking country, is an emerging global power with the world’s eighth largest economy. If the excitement of global business and finance appeals to you, it makes sense to study Portuguese.

Brazil is the site of the Amazon River and host to amazing biological diversity and an abundance of natural resources. It’s a primary destination for students of environmental and biological sciences as well as researchers and adventurers who want to explore its ecological wonders.

Portuguese is also the language of literature, put to good use by luminaries such as author Paulo Coelho, Nobel Prize-winning writer José Saramago, and poet Fernando Pessoa. English words such as flamingo, zebra, marmalade, and molasses have their roots in Portuguese; it’s one of the Romance languages, derived from Latin. Although there are some differences in dialects spoken in Latin America, Africa, and Europe, grammar and most of the vocabulary is the same.

On the other side of the world, Angola is also enjoying an economic boom, propelled by its vast reserves of oil. Portuguese is the dominant language of business in Angola, Mozambique, and other African nations, and minerals and oil are among their major exports. Asian countries such as China, South Korea, and Japan are increasing their diplomatic, trade, and financial ties with Portuguese-speaking countries.

Program Sites

The CLS Program has suspended all summer language institutes for 2020.

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Portuguese Stories

Announcing Selection for the 2020 CLS Program

The CLS Program is pleased to announce the results of its 2020 summer competition. Congratulations to all the finalists and alternates who participated in the application for the CLS Program this summer.

Finalists for the 2020 CLS Program were selected from a diverse pool of nearly 5,000...

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Posted February 27, 2020

Announcing the 2020 CLS Application - Now Open!

We are pleased to announce that the application for the 2020 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is now open! American undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply now to learn a critical foreign language next summer on a fully-funded study abroad program.


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Posted September 12, 2019