BRIC Language Program

As you may have noticed, I’ve been incommunicado for the past few months. The reason is that I started a graduate program in environmental science and that’s been taking up a huge chunk of my time. But it’s also given me a new Portuguese goal. You see, I’d really like to get an internship with a Brazilian NGO working on water management, and to do that, I’m going to need to up my fluency between now and this summer. In the meantime, I’ll be restarting my lessons and that will mean more material for Hacking Portuguese.

A commenter brought this (new?) language program to my attention:

BRIC Language Program

They are offering lessons for emerging economy languages, though so far it’s just Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish. At $45/lesson, it’s pricey. That is, unless you buy in enormous blocks of 24/48 hours, in which case it comes down to $27-29/hour — competitive, but who really wants to drop that much up front? It looks like they have 3 Portuguese instructors, all based in Brazil, and they use WebEx rather than Skype to conduct remote lessons, which I imagine gives you access to a shared whiteboard and document view in addition to the video conference. If you’ve taken lessons with BRIC, please share your experience in the comments!

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7 Responses to BRIC Language Program

  1. Jared says:

    I’d say those prices are completely out of the market. A quick search on for native Brazilian teachers gives you a range of US$5 to US$20 an hour for skype classes. And I’m sure you could negotiate group rates.

    Good luck with bumping up your Portuguese to the next level!


    • Lauren says:

      I agree it’s expensive. But I’ve also found that the quality of teachers varies quite a bit. Teachers that are part of an established program like this (or StreetSmart Brazil) usually have their own materials and teach in a structured way. $25-35 per hour is typical for these. Some independent teachers are excellent, but others don’t give much thought to teaching pedagogy or to the student’s particular needs, and it ends up being more of a conversation session.

  2. Ryan McMunn says:

    I’m biased, as the CEO and Founder of BRIC Language Systems, but take this for what it’s worth. One of the oldest and most accurate sayings is “you get what you pay for.” Yes our courses are higher priced than some out there, but we have developed all of our own interactive content and our students are successful in learning the language. A Skype course where students are forced to fumble around with out of date Portuguese learning material, and mostly untrained teachers, can’t be compared to the effective course material we offer delivered by our highly trained teachers. It could also be argued that for the high quality programs we offer, we are quite affordable. Another leader in the field costs over 2x what our students pay and don’t have an option to learn from anywhere. I would strongly recommend our courses to anyone, especially those committed to actually learning. Good luck in learning, whatever method you choose, you’re making a very good decision and if you are successful one that will be rewarding in more ways than you could ever imagine.

  3. Adam says:

    As someone currently taking Mandarin lessons with BRIC, I have to say that I have been very impressed with the content and the ability of my instructor to teach. I agree that the courses are somewhat pricey relative to a few other offerings, however they pale in comparison to others, such as Berlitz (which I have tried in the past for Spanish). I would suggest trying it for free as BRIC offers a free language evaluation and course consultation (which essentially means a free lesson) through their website ( The free trial is what sold me on the program as I had a nice experience.

  4. Mike says:

    I’ve been taking Mandarin lessons with BRIC Language Systems for long time now. I’d say that the lesson costs are appropriate. As Ryan mentioned above, you get what you pay for. Having done some of those free language exchanges and trying to utilize only free materials before, and not really getting that far.

    You can learn a language through a multitude of methods, but it really comes down to you. If you think having an expert to push you and lead you through a tailored program that focuses on what you want to learn, then BRIC is for you. If you are able to sift through the multitude of noise and stuff on the internet, then I applaud you.

    For instance, you can fill your belly after multiple circuits around your local Costco on the free tidbits and samples of food. You’ll get lots of things like frozen food and different cheeses… OR you can spend the money on a big meal at a restaurant and be satisfied in a fraction of the time with better quality food.

  5. Ryan McMunn says:

    So, almost 1 year since I first saw this and based on the business I’ve been proven right. Who wants to sign up??? Hacking Portuguese, when are you getting on board?

    • Lauren says:

      Ryan, I’ve heard from a couple readers who had positive experiences with BRIC, but I only recommend things that I’ve used myself. I’d love to do a trial lessons and consider getting on board.

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