Erin – Exchange, Brazil

Erin – Arts/Business student – Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janiero, Brazil

“PUC-Rio does have several classes in English too, so you can come here with no prior knowledge of Portuguese or Spanish, and take classes in English.”

“I landed here in Rio de Janeiro in January, ready to start my year abroad in Brazil. Without any knowledge of the Portuguese language, I was pretty nervous about how the year would go. Would I become fluent? Would I make friends?

Well first of all, PUC-Rio, the partner University here with Monash, has an AMAZING Pre-Term Portuguese course. I highly recommend this to anyone thinking of studying in Rio. With 2 years of Spanish at Monash under my belt, this intensive course really excelled my knowledge of Portuguese so quickly, showing me the similarities and many differences between Spanish and Portuguese. This was also such a great way to make friends before the semester started. And of course, it meant I was already here for Carnaval in February!

Once the actual semester started in March, I was pretty nervous. Although I had done the 1 month intensive course and was living with Brazilians, I still didn’t know if I was confident enough to actually take classes in Portuguese.

The first day of my ‘Attitudes of Entrepreneurs’ class I had the worst feeling, I was so nervous. It was my first class ALL in Portuguese with other Brazilian students. And to top it all off, the teacher made us present ourselves and our goals in front of the class. It ended up being fine and the teacher and other students were so supportive and encouraging that I was learning Portuguese! And today, four months later, I had to speak again in front of the same class. But this time I was excited, not nervous! I spoke with confidence, made a few mistakes sure, but I can really see how quickly I’ve learnt to communicate in Portuguese.

PUC-Rio does have several classes in English too, so you can come here with no prior knowledge of Portuguese or Spanish, and take classes in English. I am taking a great class in English that is about Brazilian Culture, which really helped us settle in here and learn the differences between people here compared to at home.”

Erin Shand - Brazil 2