So there I was at the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, a parade area constructed for the Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The parade had just ended, and another parade-goer and I approached a staff member with an orange flag to find out which bus was headed back to Copacabana. The person kindly said, “Excuse me,” to the staff member, who was distracted at that moment. After getting no response, she repeated herself but ended up with the same result. At that point, I said “licença” to the staff member, who immediately turned to see what I needed. You see, I had previously learned that “licença” is how you say “excuse me” in Portuguese.

Before going to Brazil, I had spent some time learning Portuguese through one of Fountaindale’s eResources, Mango Languages. I had also downloaded Mango Languages’ Passport eAudiobook, Brazilian Portuguese On The Go, via the Overdrive app. The lessons came in very handy, whether asking for assistance, ordering food or mingling with the locals.

Escadaria Selarón, also known as the Selaron Steps

Interacting with people around me in their native language was no easy task. With the help of Mango Languages’ cultural tips, I was able to make a few friends, one of whom I still speak with on a regular basis.

Thawane Dias playfully remarks – “Ele aprendeu um pouco português, ainda era difícil se comunicar com ele. Mas é que português é muito difícil” Translation: He learned a little Portuguese, it was still difficult to communicate with him. But Portuguese is very difficult.

Should you ever get the chance to travel abroad, it won’t hurt to at least know how to say hello, please, thank you and goodbye. If you would like to learn a new language, check out Mango Language’s eResource and selection of eAudiobooks provided by Fountaindale Public Library.