How do you gain true fluency in a language? Eliminate the distractions and immerse yourself.
When you're surrounded by English speakers on a traditional campus, it’s difficult to keep your mind on the language you’re trying to learn. Even when you study abroad, you’ll find plenty of distractions.
A summer at the Portuguese School is an immersion in a pure language environment, from the classroom to the soccer field and all points in between. “We do have distractions here,” says Portuguese School Director Luci Moreira, “but all the distractions are in Portuguese.” These include a wide array of in-language cocurricular activities—among them capoeira, samba, yoga, and cooking—each designed to help you build new vocabulary while developing cultural fluency.
The Portuguese School's focus is on Brazilian culture and language. However, each year, we offer a component of European and African Portuguese language and/or culture through a variety of classes, guest speakers, cultural celebrations, and lectures. In past summers, we have had writers-in-residence from Africa and Portugal and have received the support of FLAD (Luso-American Foundation).
In the summer 2013, musician Richard Miller taught instrumental music in Portuguese. Internationally acclaimed singer Stacey Kent and musician Jim Tomlinson were our artists-in-residence. Angolan writer Ondjaki, 2013 José Saramago award winner, was our writer-in-residence.
In 2012 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Portuguese School! The following participants taught or lectured: Amelia Matos Sumbana, Ambassador of Mozambique to the U.S.; Conceiçao Evaristo, Afro-Brazilian writer; Rui Zink, Portuguese writer, Álvaro Cardoso, Brazilian writer, and former director of the Portuguese School, Carmen Tesser.
For 2014, we are diligently working to prepare another unforgettable summer, combining an immersion environment with rigorous daily classroom instruction. With these elements in place, students make remarkable gains in fluency, which is the norm in the Portuguese School, not the exception.