The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Portuguese language option now available

In January of 2009, professor John Macedo of the Department of Languages and Literature expanded the language courses offered by introducing Portuguese as a new language class option for students.

Continuing into its third semester since its
creation, the Portuguese language class is still full with eager students of all years, and disciplines.

A native of Portugal, professor Macedo continues to head the class with the belief that “the Portuguese language is a vehicle to expand student horizons in international affairs.”

Portuguese is the eighth most spoken language in the world with more than 250 million speakers, from several continents, hailing from many countries such as Portugal, Brazil and Angola.

He compares the language class as key to understanding the culture of people who speak the language fluently and says students should choose Portuguese over more popular languages because “it has a nicer sound, with a mixture between French and Spanish.”

It’s well documented that St. John’s is one of the most diverse universities in America.

The St. John’s student community derives from more than 100 countries and 42 states.

Similarly this diversity has reflected in the wide range of language courses offered as well as the establishment of the new Global Language and Cultural Center. So, whether Portuguese or any other language, professor Macedo encourages students to take the initiative and learn another language.

“It will help students understand the cultures of others and connect much easier,” he said.

Becoming multilingual can also be a huge plus in the current job market and can do wonders for one’s self-esteem. More and more people are learning languages as the world is growing more interdependent.

“Imagine you were able to go to another country and communicate with the natives, wouldn’t that be better than having to rely on a translator,” said Macedo.

Regardless of all the benefits, there are some students who view language courses as unnecessary or distracting from major
courses.

To the critics, professor Macedo said “Keep your mind and heart open, you will benefit in the long run.”

Sharing his professor’s philosophy, freshman Nick Villarreal is enrolled in the new Portuguese class.

“You are going to come across another person who speaks another language or comes from another culture sometimes,” said Villarreal.

Senior Martin Hall is studying Portuguese and said that foreign language classes “make Americans look better.” He said the reason is because “other countries view Americans as arrogant to other cultures.”

Professor Macedo said that he was very excited when the idea of teaching a new language to students was suggested to him.
He anticipates that in years to come the student community will further develop a likeness and affinity to Portuguese.

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