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Portuguese language skills will vastly improve your time in Brazil and make all aspects of daily life a lot easier. This applies both to tourists who are just here on a visit, exploring this beautiful country, and expats preparing their move to Brazil.
Language Usage in Brazil
Portuguese, in its Brazilian variety, is not only the nation’s sole official language; it is also a significant marker of national identity. Virtually all of Brazil’s 200 million inhabitants speak fluent Portuguese, whereas other languages merely have minority status among indigenous people (e.g. in the Amazon) and immigrant communities (e.g. the descendants of German, Japanese, or Polish migrants).
As far as foreign languages are concerned, the educated middle and upper classes usually learn at least one other language at school. English is the most common choice, but Spanish is becoming ever more popular, due to Brazil’s economic ties to Spanish-speaking Latin America.
However, you cannot always rely on your business contacts, your new neighbors, or your doctor to be fluent in English or Spanish. If you speak Spanish yourself, most speakers of Portuguese will be able to understand you, though, and learning another Romance language will also be less of an issue for you.
The Language of Business
A solid knowledge of Portuguese will definitely help foreign job seekers interested in finding a job in Brazil. Brazil offers plenty of economic opportunities to those who can carve out a niche for themselves in the business world.
Right now, the national economy is struggling a little with stagnating growth and increasing inflation. These present difficulties notwithstanding, the Brazilian economy remains the eighth largest in the world and the most powerful in all of Central and South America.
Moreover, the unemployment rate is at an all-time low, and the country’s rather pronounced socio-economic inequalities are gradually shrinking. Brazil has rich natural resources, as well as a huge domestic market with a vast potential for increased consumption. Several sectors, such as oil and gas, the chemical and automotive industries, healthcare and medical technology, and transport infrastructure, will soon profit from major investments.
If you, too, would like to be a part of Brazil’s economy, speaking Portuguese makes living and working here possible. It is still the pre-dominant language of business and administration: No matter if you need to close a sales deal, give a presentation, train a team of workers, or just chit-chat with your new colleagues – Portuguese is the way to go. As soon as you need to deal with local bureaucracy outside the office, running your errands is far less complicated if you can actually communicate in the official language.
The Key to Brazilian Culture
Last but certainly not least, learning another language is the key to a different culture. Acquiring some proficiency in Portuguese will open doors for you when it comes to making new friends or just enjoying local entertainment. Brazil has a much beloved literary heritage and a flourishing media landscape. At some point, you may be able to appreciate popular classics like the novels of Jorge Amado or the movie hit City of God in the original version, as well as the latest telenovela on Rede Global!