Portuguese-language students earn academic excellence awards

A view of an island in the Azores

York University’s Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS) has announced Erogu Otasowie and Cassandra Moniz as the 2017-18 recipients of the Portuguese Gives You Wings award, sponsored by Azores Airlines.

This award aims to recognize academic excellence in an elementary Portuguese-language course (POR1000).

Moniz and Otasowie excelled in Portuguese 1000, earning a final grade of A+. The award is a free trip to the beautiful region of the Azores, Portugal, courtesy of Azores Airlines.

Erogu Otasowie
Erogu Otasowie

Otasowie, a student from Nigeria, is currently pursuing an international BA in business economics. He began his Portuguese journey with no background in the language, and specific interests in Lusophone emerging markets and innovative economic policy in Portugal.

“So far it has been a fantastic experience and I am definitely ahead of my original goals of basic comprehension,” he said. “Furthermore, the course has expanded my interest in Lusophone culture beyond my original areas of interest. Apart from developing base communication skills, Professor (Inês) Cardoso has also given me resources to develop my speaking and comprehension skills with native speakers from my areas of interest, and in my area of study as well. She is passionate about the language and her enthusiasm is infectious.

“This course, along with the Hora de Falar Português (Portuguese speaking hour), have been a vibrant, fun, challenging and very rewarding adventure,” said Otasowie. “The methods used in teaching require only active participation in the learning process to deliver huge results.”

Cassandra Moniz
Cassandra Moniz

Moniz, a Portuguese Canadian working towards a degree in children studies, said before this course she could not read or write in Portuguese.

“I want to thank Professor Inês Cardoso for making my experience in the POR 1000 very memorable,” said Moniz. “It is because of Professora Inês and her incredible teaching that has made me motivated and has helped me excel in the course. Each class included many activities and lessons which allowed students to work individually, in pairs, and in groups to help them feel confident and expand their knowledge in the language.”

Moniz and Otasowie will experience life in the Azores, an archipelago widely recognized by UNESCO and National Geographic, among other agencies, for its natural beauty, and ecological and sustainable development. It is known for its açorianidade, a term coined by 20th-century Azorean intellectual Vitorino Nemésio, which stands for the particular identity of its inhabitants. The Azores islands are also well known as one of the hypotheses for the location of the lost continent of Atlantis.

This award, which launched in 2016, is representative of the overall program efforts to provide students from their first to final year with significant and meaningful opportunities to engage with the language. It offers a privileged space designed to stimulate not only language interaction, but also the sense of belonging to a wider, global community while valuing cultural difference and the richness of a language within its regional variations.

The official award ceremony will tentatively take place in February 2019 at York University.

More information about this and other awards and scholarships in Portuguese is available online.

Azores Airlines is a conglomerate dedicated to the aviation industry. Founded in 1941, the head office is located in Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel, Azores. With representation in several countries, it boasts over 80 destinations, with international, national and island routes. Azores Airlines’ principles, based on values such as quality, professionalism, punctuality and hospitality, also feature the company’s commitment to collaborative initiatives, such as this award, as well as any others destined to promote the Portuguese language. Azores Airlines in Canada is also a valued community partner of the program’s advanced experiential education course “Language in Context: Portuguese in the Greater Toronto Area.”