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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.


Previous Institutes

Featured Alumni Profiles

Anabel Reyes-Ovalles
Portuguese 2019
Florianópolis, Brazil

Portuguese Stories

2020 Finalists and Alternates

Congratulations to the finalists and alternates for the 2020 CLS Program, representing students from 306 institutions across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico! Although the summer 2020 program has been suspended, we applaud the commitment of the students who prepared...

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Posted May 01, 2020


Anabel Reyes-Ovalles

Anabel Reyes-Ovalles is an alumna of the 2019 CLS Portuguese program in Florianópolis, Brazil. She recently completed a Master of Science in Terrorism and Homeland Security at American University’s School of Public Affairs, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Latin American and...

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Posted April 29, 2020


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