Portugal is a nation with a history, language, and culture that has had sweeping influences throughout the world. Though rarely heard in the United States, Portuguese maintains its status as one of the world’s most important languages. Spoken in Portugal (obviously), Brazil (South America’s largest economy) and parts of Africa, Portuguese is a bridge to a rich and diverse cultural history and spans across three continents and dozens of centuries, from the exploration of the New World in the 15th Century, to colonial and post-colonial Africa. With the expansion of American investment interests in Latin America, Portuguese has taken on even greater influence as half of all U.S. businesses in South America have offices in Brazil. Portuguese majors will have the opportunity to put their language skills into use in a wide array of fields in a number of countries.
Prior knowledge of the language isn’t necessary to major in it in college, but it certainly won’t hurt you. If you haven’t taken Portuguese in high school, then other Romance languages, such as French, Spanish, and Italian, can be helpful starting points.