For August we’ve caught up with the fabulous Eulalia, one of our Portuguese language teachers. Her passion for her native country shines through whenever she’s on the subject of Portugal. In fact, the Portuguese language was instrumental in another kind of passion that landed her a husband and a move to the UK.
Q: Great to grab a chat with you, Eulalia. Let’s go back to the early years. Tell us about how the Portuguese language changed the direction of your life.
A: I was born in Porto with three older sisters. Languages are in our blood. My eldest sister is also a language teacher of English and German at a secondary school in Portugal.
I’ve always enjoyed languages. I learnt French, English and German at school. When I was at University I went to Augsburg in Germany and met my husband-to-be there. He’s from Manchester. He didn’t speak Portuguese when we met, but he quickly made an effort to learn it.
I finished my studies at the Faculty of Arts in Porto and moved to Manchester with him in 2002. He now speaks Portuguese almost fluently, as you’d imagine.
Q: You must have really missed your regular visits back to Portugal this past year and a half?
A: Yes, of course we have. I usually go to Portugal three times a year with my husband and three children.
We go to Porto at Easter and Christmas to see my family and in July we usually go to the Algarve.
We haven’t been for nearly two years now because of Covid. But we’ve already booked our flights for late summer.
Q: How would you capture the essence of Portugal and describe it to somebody who hasn’t visited?
A: For a start the Portuguese language is very different and unique. There are words and expressions that are difficult to translate to another language, such as ‘saudade’.
We’re a country with a close-knit family ethic. We value traditions.
Our Fado from Lisbon or Coimbra.
The Galo de Barcelos, (you’ll probably recognise it as Nando’s cockerel emblem).
The traditional azulejos, which are the beautiful white and blue tiles you’ll see in churches and train stations with representations of major historic events.
The calçada portuguesa that you walk on, but not when you’re wearing high heels!
The Rancho folklore.
These are just a few of the elements that shape Portuguese identity.
But let’s not forget our tasty gastronomy: bacalhau, caldo verde, bifanas, pasteis de nata… our coffee culture.
And, of course, the sea that inspired so many to write beautiful novels or build majestic cathedrals during and since the Discoveries in the 15th Century.
Q: You’ve told us about how the Portuguese language shaped your personal life. What about your professional life?
A: I started teaching Portuguese as a foreign language in Portugal. When I came to Manchester, I had the chance to teach undergraduates at Salford and Manchester Universities.
In 2005 I also joined the Cambridge International Assessment panel. Since then, I’ve been setting and marking GCSE and A-Level exams for the Portuguese language.
I joined La Academia in 2017.
Q. You’ve been settled here in the UK for many years. What’s your life like outside work and languages?
A: I’m usually very busy with my three children. They’re very sporty and have lots of activities after school. I enjoy watching them playing football, cricket, tennis and netball.
When I manage to get some time to myself, I like to go for a swim, have a coffee and a chat with friends or read a good book.
I obviously miss my family and friends in Portugal. And I really miss not having the sea on my doorstep!
At La Academia, we’d love to share your Portuguese language learning journey with you. Get in touch for details about our next course starting soon.
BEGINNERS | Fridays | 6.30pm – 7.30pm | 6 Weeks | £100 | Hybrid class* | Beginning Friday 24th September