Competitive Advantage in Studying Portuguese

While searching for internships for BYU students, I have discovered a great interest in Portuguese, both by global business and international organizations. The OECD (one of the best internships in the world), for example, said it would love to take interns with a knowledge of Brazil and Portuguese. This is due to the size and dynamism of the Brazilian economy, but also because of its classification as one of rapidly emerging “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) economies. Evidently there is a shortage of Americans who speak fluent Portuguese–why not choose this option over the more commonly taught languages?
See what this blogger has to say about Brazil:
“For young Americans wondering what country and language they can study that will give them an edge in life, let me suggest Brazil and Portuguese.

That’s partly because of Brazil’s enormous potential – and it’s also because Brazil is an undervalued stock in the US academy. Most US “Latin Americanists” concentrate on Spanish and Spanish America. There are good reasons for that, but it leads to a distorted US picture of the hemisphere. Except for Mexico and
a couple of others, the Spanish speaking countries of the hemisphere are minnows: Brazil is a whale. One single Brazilian state alone, Sao Paulo, has a GDP bigger than any Spanish republic except for Mexico.  

Becoming fluent in Portuguese and investing time in getting to know Brazil is likely to pay off much, much better for young Americans than the study of Spanish. Let your classmates study Spanish and spend their summers in Nicaragua; learn Portuguese, go to Brazil, and learn what the future looks like.”

Speak up! Let us know what you think.