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Visiting the Amazonia exhibit at the zoo, Oct. 2015

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Potuguese for Spanish Speakers(Port 300) Spring 2015
Portuguese 201:Language & Culture

Carlos Peña, Major in Politics / International Relations - Class of 2014

Spring of 2013 I got to experience the semester I will remember the most from my academic career as an undergraduate at the Catholic University of America: My semester in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My interest in the Portuguese language and Brazil stem from both my majors at Catholic. In my Politics major my classes in Intro to IR, Comparative Foreign Policy, and Brazil’s Foreign Policy solidify my interest in Brazil as an economic powerhouse and influential country in the world international system. In my Spanish for International Service major my interest in the culture and language of Brazil grew since Brazil is one of South America most influential neighbors. This all led to February 2013, where I found myself on a flight to Brazil.

Landing in Brazil without knowing the language and being the only student from CUA to go on the program would make anyone nervous or scared, but the people from Brazil made away with that quickly. Everything from the food, the music, and the beaches were completely new, exotic and unlike anything in Los Angeles or D.C., but at the same time they were comforting and welcoming. Saying bye to my host mom in the morning, studying at a local university during the day, meeting some Brazilian friends for some churrasquinho for dinner, followed by a caipirinha in Copacabana, and ending the night at a street dance party in Lapa was just typical day in Rio. Not only was Brazil an educational, cultural, and fun experience it was also pivotal experience in my life due to the lifelong friends I made. Today, my proficiency in the Portuguese language and my Politics and S.I.S majors have set me apart from my peers in the career field of public policy that I am pursing.