Why I Chose to Study Politics and Portuguese

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Languages and Cultures, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Undergraduate | 0 comments

Hi, I’m Daniel and I study Politics and Portuguese; it is a 4 year degree with a year abroad where you can choose to study and/or work in a Portuguese speaking country. I chose this degree to learn about Portuguese culture to further connect with my heritage while also studying politics which I strongly enjoy here at Manchester.

The course structure was pretty straight forwards for me, I was automatically enrolled in the Portuguese language modules (Portuguese 1 and 2) and also the culture module for Portuguese; after I had the choice to pick between a variety of Politics modules; when choosing modules I looked at modules in the second year to see what they required from first year module options. If you are struggling with module selection, like I was, there is support that helped me at the Samuel Alexander Building. In second year you choose between or select two different Portuguese culture modules and you also enrol in one Portuguese language module. In second year there is more choice of Politics modules which you select 60 credits of; if you only select one (and not two) of the Lusophone Culture modules, you can enrol in a free module from another course such as Art history, Ancient history or many others; you can also look at selecting modules from the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning (UCIL) which uses a blended approach of in person and online learning.

My favourite module of first year was Comparative Politics. Looking at a variety of countries throughout the module was very insightful as it was not as eurocentric as I thought it might be, and also what made it so good were the engaging tutorials where there was lots of student participation (because participation counted twords five percent of our grade). Like with many modules in general the more you engage in seminars and language classes the more you will get out of them. The better my tutorials were, the better I found the module; tutorials are incredibly useful for essays as you get instant feedback on your ideas and interpretations of your readings. Of my Portuguese courses I enjoyed both semesters of the Introduction to the Cultures of the Lusophone World; the module is structured as a 20 credit module where I studied Portuguese and Lusophone African history and literature in the first semester and then Brazillian history and literature in the second semester, this module had both essay and exam components to the assessment. I personally preferred having essays rather than exams as there is more time to work on an essay, for others they might prefer how they perform in timed conditions, so selecting modules that are assessed in a way you feel that you can do your best in is important.

Most language opportunities are aimed at Spanish courses, but you can definitely take advantage of getting wider knowledge about the Hispanic world if you choose to; however I would highly recommend taking advantage of Café Lusófono, a fairly regular event where Portuguese learners and fluent speakers come to chat and practice language skills; there are also free snacks and coffee. It’s also a great place to learn more about the year abroad from fourth year students. There are lots of societies at Manchester that can help you find internships as well as the Careers Service which sends regular emails of new opportunities. To get more experience volunteering, there are also plenty of ways to get involved within societies, hall executive committees and as course representatives where you can meet others with similar interests to you; you might also consider taking up paid roles at the university.

Definitely consider studying here not only for your studies but to enrich your life more broadly with the various activities around the city that you may be interested in.

Written by Daniel Vicente Thomas, a 2nd year BA Politics and Portuguese student