European vs. Latin American? (Portuguese and Spanish)?

So I was at the library yesterday with my friend who’s from Paraguay. We saw these Learn Portuguese CDs and we both grabbed them- I have Portuguese heritage and I think she wanted to learn. However she grabbed the Brazilian Portuguese CD and I grabbed the European one xD

I’m learning Spanish, and I want to learn Castilian Spanish. However in the US Latin American Spanish (standard, I know there are a lot of dialects) is more important and Latin American Spanish is more widely spoken.

So I’m wondering, what are the main differences between the European languages and the Latin American counterparts? Like if I learned Castilian Spanish would my friend and I be able to understand each other? Same with Portuguese (I realize Brazilian Portuguese is more useful here but I wanna get in touch with my heritage and stuff…)

So what are the main differences? If I learned European and she knows/learned Latin American, would we be able to understand eachother or are they like completely different….. Even she didn’t really know when it came to Portuguese (and she says the it’s pretty much just pronunciation with Castilian and Latin American Spanish)
People I’m NOT asking what language I should learn even though I’ve asked that before…. We weren’t seriously going to learn we were just interested. Don’t say "Learn This learn that" because that’s not what I’m asking. Read the question! It’s an "IF" example.

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