There are so many ways to practice Portuguese with native speakers. Find a tutor, join a class, meet up with a conversation group, find a Brazilian/Portuguese event, or take advantage of the growing list of social language websites.
Personalized Online Tutoring
In addition to personal tutoring and fun group classes in San Francisco, StreetSmart Brazil also offers online tutoring via Skype. See here and here for my great experiences with these teachers. Mention Hacking Portuguese when you purchase your first subscription, and you’ll get a 10% discount off of the price of the first month’s worth of lessons.
I took a class with Janett and was very impressed with her methods and the credentials of her instructors. I also like that they seem to have put some thought into language acquisition theory.
These folks are a little more expensive it seems. I have no personal experience with BRIC, but I’ve heard from two readers who recommended them highly and said they were worth the cost.
Carla is a UK-based intructor who gives European Portuguese lessons via Skype.
Rosetta Stone now offers online tutoring from native speakers through a site they call TOTALe. It appears you can access TOTALe by purchasing the Complete Online Access Package at $199 for 3 months or $299 for 6 months. I haven’t used TOTALe, so I’m not clear on how the social features are set up, how flexible the scheduling is, or how personalized the content is, but here is a thorough review.
Social Language Websites
All of these sites offer beginner-level language courses, but their real strength is allowing you to practice with native speakers via video chat. They are all free to join, but you must pay to use some features.
- Verbling is a cool new site that makes it easy to find language exchange partners. Only thing I don’t like is that there is no way to find people who are at the same level as you. You can also join one of the many group classes offered each day. This is my favorite of the social sites.
- Livemocha.com goes a step further by pairing you with partners to complete simple exercises where you help each other out. It also offers editing of your writing
- Busuu is similar to Livemocha
City-by-City Guide to Schools and Tutors
I have no personal experience with any of these schools and cannot recommend one over another.
- Brazil in Chicago offers an extensive series of Portuguese classes for beginning-advanced conversational speakers, including special classes for Spanish speakers.
- Fernando Nonohay gives lessons and runs an excellent website with a wealth of activities, www.funwithbrazilianportuguese.com.
- Gisele Losso – Gisele is a wonderful teacher from Florianópolis who teaches affordable small group classes for all levels in the LA area. I’ve been taking her 2 hr/week advanced class for two years, and it has really improved my conversational abilities.
Also check out:
- Beverly Hills Lingual Institute also offers Portuguese classes ($$$)
- Pasadena Language Center also offers Portuguese classes ($$$)
- Capoeira Brasil LA offers capoeira classes
- SambaLA offers samba and drumming classes and puts on an annual Carnaval
- Brazilian Day LA happens every September
- the Los Angeles Portuguese Meetup group
New York City
- Brazil Ahead – business, personal and group classes near Little Brazil in Manhattan, and online. They also have a week-long Rio Immersion trip. Cris from Brazil Ahead has kindly offered a 10% discount on classes to Hacking Portuguese readers.
- Brazil Station – business, personal and group classes
- Ananda Lima is a linguist and a private tutor who also writes a great blog for Portuguese students
Rio de Janeiro
- Carioca Languages is a Portuguese language school in Copacabana that offers 4 and 8 week group classes, as well as individual classes.
- Casa do Caminho is a hostel, volunteer program, and social NGO in Ipanema that offers group and private Portuguese classes starting at at R$14 per hour. The money benefits an orphanage in Rio.
- Bridge Brazil is a language school based in downtown Rio (O Centro).
- Idioma – A language school in the Barra neighborhood of downtown Salvador.
- StreetSmart Brazil offers in person tutoring, group classes, and cultural outings
Santa Barbara, CA
- Me! If you would like lessons in the Santa Barbara area, email email@example.com. I am available to help with pronunciation, conversation, grammar, or to help you put together a personalized study plan.
- Aprenda2 – fancy language school with many travel/study options
- Torre de Babel Idiomas e Cultura – their website is only in Portuguese, but this school offers Portuguese classes for foreigners (Curso de Português para Estrangeiros)
- Ana Luiza Bergamini is a private Portuguese teacher. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some other suggestions for finding native speakers to talk to in your city:
- Look for a Brazilian or Portuguese language meetup.com group in your area
- Join a capoeira or samba school
- If you’re near the west coast of the U.S., check out California Brazil Camp
- Have Brazilians come to you! Sign up to host travelers at couchsurfers.com.
- Check out a local Brazil Day celebration, which happens in many large cities in early September.
- Find a language exchange partner. So many Brazilians are learning English these days and would love to find a native speaker to practice with. The best way to find these folks is on blogs and Facebook groups for Brazilians who are learning English. Leave a comment saying that you’re interested in finding a language exchange partner. But take care to find someone who is at a similar level as you, otherwise the experience can be frustrating. Good places to look:
- Search your local craigslist for ‘portuguese’
- Search for a tutor on TutorSpree
Know of other schools or tutors who aren’t listed here? Leave a comment and I’ll add them!