[main entrance to Rio de Janeiro State University]
Not so great, unfortunately. It's tough. I'm not used to being so stumped by a subject matter. (I'm a pretty smart guy overall. *wink*) Nothing short of intense study is going to get me through this. And so far I have been reluctant to commit the time and effort.
Today I started my third semester of classes. The first two semesters, you may recall, were at the Federal University (UFF) here in Niterói. They were great courses, although I got barely passing grades.
This semester I'm at the State University in Rio (the Federal University dropped the "Portuguese for Foreigners" program for some reason). The good news is that I'm only paying R$150 for the whole semester! (UFF was nearly R$1,000.)
The bad news is that classes are on Friday afternoon, for three hours, and put me on the bus back to Niterói exactly at the height of rush hour. Going to and returning takes three hours sitting on the bus. Sigh.
[open outdoor walkways between floors/buildings]
We are a motley crew of 12 students from all over the world: Pakistan, Equador, China, USA, England, Germany... and it seems the mean level of proficiency is BELOW mine, so I'm not getting my hopes up for a huge leap forward. But the structure and routine of studying is definitely something I need to help me improve. And the price is right.
The good news is that this particular state university is known for its language courses (they offer everything from Greek to Japanese, to Spanish to Russian, to English, etc.). Hopefully it will be a good course.
Wish me luck. It has been an uphill battle - and one I cannot shy away from.