Many want to learn Portuguese while they are in Rio de Janeiro, there is no clear answer to what is the best way since it depends on who you are. On this page I have tried to put together the different options available. Before talking about different Portuguese courses I want to say a few words about method.
What Method Is Right For You?
What is the best way to learn Portuguese? Well this question has no answer; you have to pick the method that is right for you. Time available, previous knowledge, money and most importantly: Your own disposition to learn. You have to find out the best way for you to learn a language, it is very individual so give this some thought. Some people learn by speaking; then talk to Brazilians… Some need structure; take a university course… and so on. Last but not least I have to tell you to not be lazy! You have to discipline yourself and to get the homework done. Without your determination to learn you´d be better off sipping a Caipirinha on the beach.
Learn Portuguese at a University
The only real Portuguese courses for foreigners on this level is at PUC Rio (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro). They have courses on 5 levels and this is in my view the most complete way to learn Portuguese here. Studying at a Brazilian university also gives you access to loads of students; people that can become your friends and also be your practice ground for what you have learned. Sometimes they do intensive 6 week courses but in general they run over 4 months. All the info about this you can get by clicking PUC-Rio.
There are many of these around. The education in these vary a lot in standard, some new schools are a lot more updated with new methods of learning and can offer perhaps a more pleasant and fun environment. These days I meet a lot of people that have good learning experiences, shop around and find the school that offers the best method for you.
A Good School
The following text is a message from an NGO I think offer a good option to learning Portuguese in Rio:
Caminhos Language Centre
“Learn Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro at Caminhos Language Centre. You will learn to converse in Brazilian Portuguese in an effective, dynamic and fun way. Caminhos offers free and fun activities for you to socialise and practise your Portuguese. Beach volleyball, cooking classes, samba classes an various other activities.” Site: Caminhos Language Centre
The Private Lessons
An alternative to the schools above are the private lessons. In many hostels you have offers like: “Learn Portuguese with a Carioca”. You will basically do the same thing as above but there is a big difference: It will be you (maybe with someone else) alone with the teacher. You may meet in a restaurant, have a cup of coffee and speak Portuguese. Most likely you will receive homework that you are expected to do until the next encounter. This method is much more liberal and you can decide yourself what you want to focus on.
Do It Yourself
Get a text book, a practice book and a dictionary. Follow the chapters. As a complement you can buy a book in Portuguese in which you read and translate a chapter each day or week. If you combine this with discipline and a willingness to talk with Brazilians (avoid speaking English even though every Brazilian wants to practice with you!) you should pick things up quite fast. This is the way I learned, I preferred this method since I dont like sit-down lessons of any kind.
Just click Online Free Portuguese Dictionaries and you’ll get to a page where I have links to some of the best resources available on the internet. I have also written a page about the Portuguese Language where you can read about it from a linguistic perspective.