P: Bonjour Ellen, I wanted to ask you something: do you mind if I park my beautiful Dacia somewhere on your estate for 3 weeks from Saturday morning? I go to take
a portuguese course at the university in Coimbra
but parking space is scarce there, so I prefer to park the car safely in Termas da Azenha
L: But of course Paulie, your Dacia is cherished here like a freshly laid bird’s egg
L: He’s safe, I’m just saying, not that he’ll get covered in bird droppings
L: Well, depending on where you park it of course…
P: oh, thank you! Come and deliver her this Saturday morning and then continue by train to Coimbra. I rented a room there. In a student house
L: Oh sorry, it’s a “she”
L: So hard to see on cars, they seem non-binary just like some people…but yeah, logical, otherwise it would have been DaciO…
The University of Coimbra is of course very beautiful, and one of the oldest in Europe
A great location with all those good study vibes around you. Good for 355,000 tourists from 60 different countries. Impressive! You also have students there, by the way. 25,188 to be exact. Good morning. Not surprising because Coimbra is popular among prospective students. It is a prestigious university; if you studied there, you automatically check one more box.
The University also organizes shorter courses, including this short intensive “Portuguese for foreigners”
Many young people do this course, and for various reasons. Study is one, of course, work is another. Hardly anyone does this as a hobby, like Paul. Or well, hobby, it’s also a bit of ambition. If you clearly look like a foreigner, you often get special treatment.
And that consists of: ignoring you or speaking english to you
Many young portuguese want exactly the same thing that we foreigners want: showing off your other language. Ha! Do you hear me speak nice and casual ….. (fill in the required language)? Occasionally this gives some confusing situations, that you as a foreigner are talking portuguese to a portuguese who is speaking english, german or french with you.
It would have been a lot easier if we hadn’t built that wretched Tower of Babel!
The other approach mainly comes from older and/or more beta-minded Portuguese. Out of embarrassment, afraid to be spoken to in a language they don’t know, they pretend you’re not there. A good approach, because it generally works fine. It’s actually more of a non-verbal indication that you don’t have to ask them anything.
Three weeks have passed. I’m curious. How did it go?
“Awesome!” Paul is a positive person, but now his enthousiasm doesn’t meet any limits anymore. In the morning: Grammar – Su!Per! In the afternoon: conversation – Un!Pa!Ra!Lle!Led! Homework in the evening – also fun! Nice fellow residents in the building, enthusiastic teachers, authentic historical location, beautiful view, delicious coffee, everything within walking distance.
Maybe next time the intensive summer school of 6 weeks, exclusively in Portuguese?
Your DaciA is always welcome!
We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.
A big step, especially with two small children.
You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.
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