So it’s time to bite the bullet and learn Portuguese. Well, i think with a strong sense of motivation, and a good memory your going to be fine! However, for those who struggle to find motivation to turn the alarm clock off in the morning (thats me,) here’s some great sites and tips on learning Portuguese!


The biggest, and BEST way to learn Portuguese is to be put in a situation where you HAVE to learn it. I’ve been here almost 8 months now, and have more luck talking with dogs! However, i have friends who are on a exchange scheme, and after 3 months speak fluently (and yes i am extremely jealous!) The reason why ladies and gentleman is because they live with a Portuguese family (generally only speaking Portuguese, although a requirement for the scheme is for the parents to speak English,) and study at a Portuguese school – where there is no requirement at all for English to be spoken. I was lucky enough to be able to sit in the back of the classrooms and listen to the teaching (like the exchange program) as a friend asked permission for me.

Watching TV, subtitled movies, or listening to Music is also a great way to pick up the language both consciously and subconsciously.


If your living in a big city then finding Portuguese classes for foreigners will be pretty easy. If your in a small city, like me, then i recommend calling all the English schools around and seeing what they can suggest. Although this is a more expensive approach than learning alone, it does make you go and learn something. Like for example when you join a gym – You go because your paying money, the same thing happens here!


This site is a great site for starting off. The limitation is that it just has one course, but this one course gives you the basic – intermediate language skills you need to start off! The site has evolved alot since i started, but there was 2 ways of getting access to the full course. Mark lots of other peoples work as an English (or whatever language) native, or pay the small fee. I paid! Here are the benefits –

  • You listen (and learn,) test what you’ve learned by selecting the image which is written or spoken, or create the sentence by translating the English sentence given
  • Test your writing skills by writing a text from what you have learned. This is then marked by other members on the site who are Brazilian Natives!
  • Test your vocal skills by recording and submitting a text given. This is then marked by Brazilian Natives
  • Instant chat with Brazilians to practice!
  • Email other Brazilians
  • Quick practice any of the speaking, writing, or reading exercises

Overall it is a good way to learn, and most of what i have learned has been from this website!


A problem i had when arriving was the fear of leaving the house! Because i didn’t speak the language, i was scared to even try. This is fear you need to overcome as practice is essential. You will find Brazilians are generally very welcoming, and appreciate that their language is very hard, so if you make mistakes they will be patient and happy to help if they can!

Likewise, after a few drinks when the confidence has risen, this fear will evaporate and you’ll be speaking with no worries, and practicing what you know!

Build yourself a Brazilian life, not an English life!

By far, the biggest problem to me learning Portuguese is the life i have built for myself. My partner who i live with speaks fluent English, and although we try and speak just in Portuguese it is so easy to revert back to English without even realizing. All my friends speak English. Strangers too will try speak English with you too – Many Brazilians don’t often get the chance to practice their English with a native, so they love to try when they can! And finally i work in an English school! My whole life is English English English, and of course this doesn’t help me at all when it comes to learning Portuguese!

The little things help!

The smallest things will help you improve your language skills

  • Listen to conversations on the bus
  • Speak whenever you can in Portuguese
  • Make conversations even when you don’t need to!
  • Take a notebook and write down unknown words to translate when you get home
  • Read what you can of a magazine or newspaper and translate the rest later
  • Listen to the TV, Music and Movies even if you don’t understand
  • Practice as much as possible!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Alexandre
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 22:17:28

    Oi, imagino suas dificuldades com o Português, moro na Inglaterra, e me senti da mesma forma ao chegar aqui, após quase 4 anos e meu parceiro que não fala português, meu inglês melhorou significamente, embora cometa alguns erros, espero que tenha gostado da experiência em morar no Brasil e boa sorte ao voltar à chuvosa Inglaterra.


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