Ricardo Gualda

Dec 2009

Did I learn Portuguese? Yes. Was this class infinitely more stressful than it needed to be for absurd reasons? Yes! Do I recommend the course? Yes-- as long as you know what you're getting yourself into. Why? This course is extremely disorganized. We were told to buy 2 frequently erroneous books amounting to $75+ that we rarely used (Prof. Gualda himself said that he "didn't believe in books"...yet made us purchase them.) We were assigned lots of homework and vocab lists, but we weren't really expected to know them or do the work, and we rarely--if ever-- went over them in class. In class we skipped over some chapters completely-- but these were still on the exams (which he doesn't write himself). He told us to do daily Twitter posts in Portuguese, but these were never mentioned beyond the beginning of the course. We also had to do "class notes" for 2 of the chapters which couldn't be actual notes and had to be "creative" (?). Basically, I-- along with most of the other students-- had absolutely no idea what we were and weren't supposed to do and what was and was not expected of us. Fortunately, however, most of the students easily met these expectations. That being said, Prof. Gualda is from São Paolo, so he knows the language very well. He also has a very strong linguistics background, so he explains the grammar of the language clearly. Although we had some discussion activities in class, most of the class was spent listening to him go off on huge tangents semi-related to Brazilian culture, which, although somewhat disappointing, still helped because the aural element of the language is what seems to throw off Spanish speakers the most. The classroom atmosphere is light and friendly. Prof. Gualda also responds to e-mail very rapidly. All in all, I'm glad that I took the course, despite the unnecessary stress of never knowing what was and was not expected of the students. As I said, I feel as though I truly did get a fair grasp of the language (in one semester!)