There are many reasons why you would want to learn to speak a new language like Portuguese with language lessons: not only so that you can visit the coastal regions of Portugal and marvel at the gloriously sunny beaches, but also so that you can make use of business opportunities in this European country as an intermediate or near-native speaker.
Most international business will have their main offices in or around the capital city, Lisbon (or Lisboa, in Portuguese) however, if you want to find work in other areas of Portugal or Brazil then you will no doubt find a wide range of businesses covering various industries, just like at home.
The only difference in working for an international company and one whose workers communicate solely in Portuguese is that your language acquisition (particularly your comprehension/listening skills and your grammar and vocabulary) may need to be a notch or two higher in order to participate in a conversation and forge a relationship with natives and their fellow Portuguese contacts.
So, if you are tired of Manchester and want to fulfil a dream of working abroad to gain a specific learning experience, or if you are seeking a job in Portugal to follow in the footsteps of family or a loved one, then here’s all you need to know about working in a country like Portugal, how you might fare in terms of remuneration, and how you can embark on your journey as a learner seeking language programs adapted for Business purposes.
Get set for jet-setting to Portugal with these tips for professionals. Photo credit: Zillay Ali on Visualhunt.com / CC BY
While Brazil is listed within the top ten most successful economies worldwide, Portugal was quite badly affected by the global recession and still hasn’t dug itself out of that hole. Unemployment in Portugal is still rife, yet that doesn’t mean you have no chance of getting employed.
As an undergraduate, graduate or young professional, it may sadden you to hear that youth unemployment stands at 28% in the country (and you thought it was bad in the UK!), which compares to 11.9% here in Great Britain, a figure presented by the UK Parliament and one which has gone down since the 90s.
As previously stated, your best bet in finding work is to look out for posts in the larger, inland city of Lisbon as well as Porto, which sits in the Iberian Peninsula and is known for being an influential global city.
So, if you have sun, sea, and sand in your head when you picture your life in Portugal – you may need to think again! The Algarve is a beautiful holiday destination but it may have to remain just that, with you going to visit the resort on your time off. In fact, the climate and tourism associated with it were one of the downfalls that caused Portugal to get hit so hard, as it led to debts, job shortages and this rocketing unemployment that we’ve just talked about.
Nevertheless, no matter where you try out for a job, you should be prepared for fierce competition, just like you would at home.
Being fluent in Portuguese will go a long way in putting you ahead of other foreign candidates whose language skills aren’t as advanced, so taking a formal language study programme or learning the language with an online language course before you apply for work is strongly recommended.
It is no good thinking to yourself: “I’ll pick it up in no time”, your prospective employers will want to see that you’ve made the effort to gain a good understanding of their first language, their mother tongue, during the interview stages.
Since the Portuguese economy relies quite heavily on tourism, you may find it relatively easy to come by introductory casual work in the touristic regions, which may, in turn, help you to gain experience and learn the language including new words and phrases and expressions, before entering a more professional environment, but this may not be the best way forward in the long term as someone who needs money to pay bills and so on.
You may find some temping work in the tourist regions but there aren’t really any long-term job prospects unless you look at larger cities. Photo credit: PortoBay Trade on Visual hunt
Finding work teaching English as a second language to locals in Portugal is another good idea to top up your earnings, although many people in Portugal have a basic knowledge of non-native English.
Portugal and the UK have, historically, always had strong economic ties since Britain is one of the main foreign investors in Portugal. Furthermore, Brazil is the UK’s most important partner in the whole of Latin America, with a 2.6% market share, so being a UK citizen might be seen as an advantage.
Get started with your language studies now and test out this methodology!
While you may be used to a relatively short day, like a 9 to 5 with a quick lunch at your desk, the average working hours in Portugal are 9 am to 7 pm with a two-hour break for lunch, Monday to Friday. This tradition of taking a long lunch with colleagues or family during the hottest part of the day is still in existence throughout countries like France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. The legal maximum is 40 hours a week.
Workers generally receive 22 paid annual leave days per year, plus public holidays, of which there are 12, which is not dissimilar to the UK’s system. The current minimum wage is €530 per month, which equates to approximately £470 a month.
This extended lunchtime could enable you to carry out yet more self-study, such as enhancing your language studies by teaching yourself how to conjugate verbs correctly and revising for any exams that you might be enrolled on to take.
While many Portuguese people are able to converse in basic English, it is still hugely important to have a strong grasp of Portuguese before you consider working in the country, as it is somewhat disrespectful to expect natives to speak to you in your own language. So, even if you can’t afford language instruction with a tutor, why not try language training online to assist you with studying Portuguese as an international student.
Aside from the fact that it will impress those around you and help you gain their respect and attention, it may help you stand out among other foreign workers as well. Also, knowing how to get by will be a great benefit when it comes to filling out application forms and dealing with other administration relating to residing in Portugal (i.e. household bills, tax forms, etc…).
Portuguese is spoken by roughly 250 million people around the globe and is the fifth most spoken language in the world so wouldn’t you want to be among those who have learned the language, whether as a child or older? There are many websites offering language program and instructor-led courses around Manchester that can help you learn, so do some research in your county and find out what’s on offer.
To get you started, we have found just a few courses specialising in Business Portuguese to enable you to enter the corporate world with confidence and ease.
As a final note on working in Portugal, there is now more call for multilingual workers in tourism hotspots like the popular holiday resorts, the property sector, and call centres, so all is not lost if you struggle to pick up the lingo straight away through lessons!
For some, being amongst the action and hearing the language being spoken in context is the only way to truly master it.
The Languages For Business Centre
The Languages For Business Centre (LBC) offers in-company training across Greater Manchester, including in Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Audenshaw, Bolton, Broadbottom, Bury, Cadishead, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Firgrove, Greenmount, Heywood, Hollingworth, Hyde, Irlam, Leigh, Little Hulton, Manchester, Milnrow, Mossley, Oldham, Prestwich, Ramsbottom, Rochdale, Sale, Salford, Stalybridge, Stockport, Tottington, Walmersley, Wigan, and Worsley.
Among its tailored courses, which are designed with those looking to work in Portugal at the forefront, are:
As one would expect, Culture Awareness Training is taught as an integral part of each course to ensure that visiting professionals integrate well into society.
Learning about Portuguese traditions and the country’s culture is just as important as learning to speak their language. Photo credit: Arian Zwegers on VisualHunt / CC BY
Click here for more information.
Chris Polatch courses offer private Portuguese lessons in Manchester with your own friendly and professional teacher, either at your home or at your office.
“You can learn Portuguese one-to-one or in a small group of your colleagues, friends or family. [Their] highly effective private Portuguese courses are ideal if you need Portuguese for business, own property overseas, are relocating abroad, travel regularly, or are working towards GCSE and A levels. [The] experienced teachers will get you speaking Portuguese in no time. […]
You can call […] or book online, letting [them] know your results in [their] online test if you have time to do it (no need to do this if you are a complete beginner). You tell [them] how many hours you wish to book initially and which times suit you best. [They] will discuss your Portuguese training needs with you to make sure that [they] understand exactly what you hope to achieve from your private Portuguese tuition. Within a few days [they] will assign you your Portuguese teacher and they will be in touch with you. [They] will tell you which Portuguese training materials you should buy for your lessons.”
There are four types of Portuguese language course on offer, one of which is Portuguese for Business – for Adults; ideal if you do business with Portuguese speakers. All resources and materials are adapted to business situations at all levels.
Click here for more information.
There you have it, so there is no excuse now not to brush up on your foreign language skills by getting reading and writing in Portuguese or attending language classes!
Don’t forget to learn about language and culture, because understanding the culture is equally as important for immersion as learning the native language effectively is during your placement in Portugal.