Interview with an IALC founding member – CIAL Centro de Linguas

13 décembre 2010

Quality Language Schools Worldwide

IALC was formed in 1983 by a small group of like-minded independent language schools. One of those founding members was CIAL Centro de Linguas who have Portuguese language schools in Faro and Lisbon.

Today we spoke with CIAL Director, Alexandra Borges de Sousa to find out more about the school and herself.

Q: Hello Alexandra, how has 2010 been for CIAL?

A: I am very happy to say that this has been a good year for both schools. We are back to the figures of 2008, even looking at a slight growth.

Q: How have things changed over the years?

A: Things change very quickly nowadays. IT brought new dimensions to every aspect of communication, language learning included. In its 51 years of existence, CIAL remains a family-run business, with a new generation in charge now. We want to build on the work that was done during the first 50 years of CIAL. At the same time we notice that the language is more in demand both by professionals and leisure learners.

Q: What are your main aims for CIAL?

A: Our goal is to keep CIAL as the school of reference for learning Portuguese in Portugal, in academic terms, but also by improving our support services continuously and adding new courses and experiences for our students.

Q: From which countries do the majority of your students come?

A: Almost 90% of our students are European. Of these, Germany and the UK are our top nationalities.

Q: What would you say are the biggest challenges facing CIAL and language study in Portugal?

A: Unfortunately there aren’t any government entities or activities to promote the teaching of Portuguese in Portugal, especially in private schools. This is a handicap when we try to open new markets, namely for visas.

Q: How does it feel to be part of the IALC exclusive group of quality language schools?

A: It is hard to imagine not to be a part of it. CIAL is a founding member of the Association, and I’ve been involved in the school for a long time, since my student years, so I have witnessed the growth of the Association over the years. I have learned a lot from every single person I have met in IALC. My personal involvement, from organising the 1998 AGM and Workshop to joining the Membership Committee and now chairing it have been challenging and enriching experiences.

IALC has enabled CIAL to be looked upon as a school with high standards of service, by putting it side by side with excellent independent schools worldwide, something which is invaluable – and that was really one the original aims of the Association.

Q: Moving on to find out more about you, which is your favourite city in the world and why?

A: This is such a cliché, but I have to say Lisbon! It is old, modern, small enough and big enough, not to mention the sea view from my house, the weather and the food.

Q: Your favourite pastime?

A: To linger on the beach for hours with my family. I have always been an avid reader too.

Q: Your favourite meal?

A: Bacalhau (cod fish, preserved in salt in the Portuguese traditional way). There are more than 1000 ways to cook it, and I guess I like them all!

Q: Your dream dinner guests?

A: I think Christopher Hitchens, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anthony Bourdain would make the perfect dinner party guests.

Q: Finally, what would you say are the main benefits of studying Portuguese in Portugal?

A: I would say that students get the chance to experience a beautiful country with appealing features for all types, while learning a truly ‘world language’.

For school enquiries please contact:


Tel: +351 21 794 0448 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +351 21 794 0448 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

More Information:

CIAL website

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