International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

African Voices Spell out a Harsh Reality: a Case-Study of English as International Language at a Portuguese University
Rita Amorim, Isabel Soares

This article examines the plight of African students taking their degree in Portugal, by uncovering their problems and reactions to learning English. When students from Portuguese-speaking African countries arrive at ISCSP, Universidade de Lisboa, they are met with the need to learn today’s international language of academic and professional contexts: English. However, they find themselves at a disadvantage in relation to their Portuguese counterparts because they have usually had less years of English study. This study shows that despite feeling and revealing many difficulties when learning English, African students believe this subject is useful and should be compulsory. The study concludes that there is no significant difference between the learning problems showed by African-origin students who come to ISCSP directly from Africa and those who concluded secondary education in Portugal. Moreover, the data also revealed that in the comparison with Portuguese students, African-origin ones do show less preparation to take an English-learning course at college.

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