My name is Frederico and I have been a teacher since 1998. And I have been teaching Portuguese to foreigners for 8 years. Many people try to learn Portuguese in Lisbon but not all of them succeed. I can safely say that learning Portuguese is challenging but it is also perfectly possible and fun!
LEARN PORTUGUESE IN LISBON
Lisbon is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. A place where the new and the old combine in a harmonious way. In the Portuguese capital many foreigners live who seek to integrate themselves into the Portuguese way of life. Speaking Portuguese is essential to understand the soul of the Portuguese people and to enter into the Lusitanian culture. There are many foreigners living in Lisbon who can only speak English. Actually it is easy to communicate in English especially in the city center. The Portuguese are famous for being talented in languages. This Portuguese skill makes life easier for those visiting the Portuguese capital. But the truth is that it is impossible to be part of any culture without speaking the native language of that place.
Of course, the goal of those who learn the Portuguese language may be more modest. There are people who want to learn Portuguese just so they can “survive” in Lisbon. So they can hail a cab, buy a bus ticket, go to the supermarket, and other everyday activities. It is understandable but in my opinion it is a poor goal. I think all the people who live in Lisbon will benefit a lot from learning the language. If they never do, they will always have a limited experience and vision of our way of being and thinking. In Lisbon, be Lisboeta!
LEARN EUROPEAN PORTUGUESE OR BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE?
Many students of Portuguese have this doubt. Are there relevant differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese? We begin by saying that we are talking about the same language. But it is true that although it is the same language, there are small grammatical differences. Brazilians use the gerund more, use pronouns before verbs, have some vocabulary of their own, and have a sweeter accent. These are small differences that do not hinder understanding between peoples. But not everything is easy! The speed with which the Portuguese speak their language makes communication difficult. It is very common to hear a person from Brazil asking a Portuguese person to repeat a sentence. Word for word the Brazilian will understand everything. But the speed and the way the Portuguese pronounce words makes life very difficult for Brazilians.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO LEARN PORTUGUESE IN LISBON
Nowadays, there are many tools for learning Portuguese including books, podcasts, videos, online courses and online platforms. All these resources are useful and valid. But none replaces a teacher to teach, evaluate and guide the student’s learning process. Without an experienced teacher, the student is lost in a sea of books and grammatical structures.
There is also another indispensable element in the success of the Portuguese student. The student must have many opportunities to speak, communicate and converse in Portuguese! It is absolutely crucial. NO ONE can learn a language without the element of conversation in their learning process! If you are thinking of learning Portuguese, don’t forget to choose a course with few students and where conversation is a fundamental element!
PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE SCHOOL OR PRIVATE TEACHERS?
Finding a private teacher on your own can be a bit risky. The teacher may lack experience and may not be qualified. At an early stage, students have some difficulty in clearly identifying the teacher’s skills. If the teacher does not know how to lead your process, it will take longer and you will spend more money to learn Portuguese.
When you choose a language school, you have a few more guarantees of quality and experience. If the school is of good quality, you will find a well-defined teaching structure. But pay attention to the school you choose! Price is often not a good indicator of quality. Check online reviews from students. Take a trial lesson and compare prices. Some language schools in Lisbon charge very high prices and don’t offer the extra quality that the price would justify.
GROUP LESSONS OR PRIVATE LESSONS?
If you are just starting to learn Portuguese (level A1), we suggest you learn in a group. As you begin your journey through the Portuguese language, you will start by discovering the essential grammar, rules, sounds and vocabulary of the language. At this early stage, there is little conversation and plenty of grammar. This is the time to build the foundations that will later allow you to start conversing in Portuguese. The content you will learn can be taught individually or in groups. If you choose a group course it will be cheaper and you will learn the same as in individual classes. If you want to know the timetable and prices of our intensive courses, please click HERE!
From level A2 on, your main concern should be conversation! To be able to converse in Portuguese, you should look for a solution that offers you plenty of opportunities to communicate with a teacher and with colleagues at a similar level. At the A2 level, students are usually not yet able to speak with native speakers in a satisfactory way. For levels A2, B1 and higher, we suggest individual lessons or courses with a small number of students (maximum 5). For prices and schedules click HERE!
IMPORTANT TIP: I suggest that students do not do two intensives courses in a row. At the end of each course it is essential to consolidate what you have learned through conversation. If you do two intensive courses in a row you will end the process with a mountain of grammar but without acceptable fluency!
PORTUGUESE INTENSIVE OR EXTENSIVE COURSES?
For level A1, intensive courses (5 days a week) and also extensive courses (2 times a week) are effective. It depends a lot on your availability and the energy you have to learn Portuguese. If your life is very busy with work and professional commitments, the extensive course is probably the most adequate solution. On the other hand, if you have time to study at home and are super motivated to learn the language, opt for an intensive Portuguese course!
For levels A2, B1 (and higher) we believe that extensive courses (focused on conversation) are the best option. It is very important to choose a course that is compatible with your personal and professional life so that you do not feel tired or worn out by the time you start each Portuguese class.
IMPORTANT MATERIALS THAT SCHOOLS SHOULD MAKE AVAILABLE FOR LEARNING PORTUGUESE IN LISBON
When you choose a language school to learn Portuguese, don’t do it just because the website looks good, or the classrooms are nice, or the staff is friendly. In our opinion, above all, you should consider the following factors: 1-Experience and quality of the teachers; 2-Quality and diversity of the materials available. It is FUNDAMENTAL THAT THE SCHOOL OFFER you podcasts appropriate to your level and an E-learning platform so that you can CONSOLIDATE and EXPAND your knowledge at home!
If your materials are just the book, worksheets and class notes, then you will NOT be able to CONSOLIDATE YOUR ORAL COMPREHENSION and EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY!
WHAT PROGRESS CAN YOU EXPECT IN A 30-HOUR COURSE?
In a 30 hour A1 level Portuguese course, students learn and consolidate the grammatical contents of that level. But it is important to say that it is essential to complement the 30 hours of classroom lessons with another 15 to 20 hours of homework.
Each Portuguese student ends the A1 level course with a specific level. No two students are alike and the learning abilities of each person are fundamental in the teaching-learning process.
Another very important factor is previous knowledge of other languages, particularly Spanish. People who learn a second language for the first time are (almost) always slower learners than students who learn a third or fourth language.
Many students finish the A1 level course in perfect condition to move on to a more advanced level course (A2). Other students finish the A1 level course and need some extra lessons to consolidate skills and improve their listening and speaking abilities.
In our opinion, without consolidating the contents of level A1 there is no point in moving on to the next level! If you do this without being prepared, you will find yet another huge amount of grammar content that will do little or nothing to improve your fluency in Portuguese.
HOW MANY HOURS OF HOMEWORK IN GROUP CLASSES? AND IN THE INDIVIDUAL CLASSES?
We have said before that students in the Intensive A1 course (in group) in Portuguese should supplement their learning with 15 to 20 hours of homework. This supplementary effort is done by reviewing the units we deliver to the students, But also through the use of our digital platforms: QUIZLET and EVERLESSON. The QUIZLET platform is perfect for expanding vocabulary and consolidating information through a multitude of Portuguese study activities. On the EVERLESSON platform, students can find our podcasts, an indispensable tool in the process of improving listening comprehension in Portuguese. If you choose a course with private classes, please note that, on average, students need 15 private hours to complete level A1. Complement the private course with 30 to 35 hours of homework.
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF LEARNING LANGUAGES
Because we belong to the European community, the learning levels follow the following guideline.
HOW MANY HOURS ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE LEVEL A1? WHAT ABOUT LEVEL A2?
We have already mentioned that it takes approximately 50 hours to complete level A1 in Portuguese (30 hours of face-to-face classes and 20 hours of homework). If at the end of the first learning level we already find very relevant differences between students, when we talk about the second level the differences in progression are even more pronounced. In general, we can say that students need 60 hours to successfully complete the second level in Portuguese (30 hours of face-to-face classes and 30 hours of homework).
AT WHAT LEVEL WILL YOU BE ABLE TO SPEAK PORTUGUESE WITH A NATIVE SPEAKER?
Many students believe that at the end of their first language course they will already be able to speak Portuguese and solve their everyday problems. For those students who have a grounding in Spanish and Italian, this is attainable by the end of level A1. But for most students, the end of level A1 is just the starting point for a slightly longer journey. To speak Portuguese with a native speaker comfortably, it is essential that students reach level B1.2. To get there, an average of 6 to 12 months of regular, consistent work is needed!
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP: CONSISTENCY!
It is the key element of the whole learning process! Learning Portuguese is not a 100-meter race. Learning Portuguese is a marathon!
Starting with an intensive A1 level Portuguese course is an excellent option! But at the end of the course, it is fundamental to find an option that allows students to keep in touch with the language and maintain the learning process but in a less intensive way.
At the end of the A1 level course, many students ask me what is the best solution from that point on. I answer by saying that the most important thing is for the student to find a course that allows him/her to have one or two classes a week. These classes should be focused on conversation! From the A2 level on, grammatical progression should be made slowly. Teachers should prepare lessons that give students lots of opportunities for listening and speaking! Without conversation it is IMPOSSIBLE to improve fluency!
WHY CHOOSE LISBON LANGUAGE CAFÉ?
Let’s be objective and give you 6 facts that you can prove!
FACT 1 – Lisbon Language Café has been teaching Portuguese since 2014. Many hundreds of students have passed through our school – many students who started completely from scratch and who today speak Portuguese fluently!
FACT 2 – We are located in downtown Lisbon, in the Santos area, near Cais do Sodré. To get to our school you can take the subway, train, streetcar, bus and even the boat.
FACT 3 – Our students speak for us. Check out our online reviews and draw your own conclusions about the quality of our classes!
FACT 4 – Our classrooms are clean, modern and functional spaces. Here are some pictures of our school!
FACT 5 – We are the ONLY Portuguese school in Lisbon that OFFERS 2 digital platforms with hundreds of learning activities that complete the course.
FACT 6 – Our courses are less expensive than most other language schools in Lisbon.
Our materials were all created by us as a result of accumulated teaching experience. All our students have FREE access to our PODCASTS AND our QUIZLET platform. Try them for FREE NOW!
EVERLESSON PLATFORM – PODCASTS (levels A1, A2, B1 and B2)
HOW TO USE THE PODCASTS?
- Read the questions; 2. listen to the podcast two or three times without READING THE TEXT; 3. answer the activities/questions; 4. listen to the podcast one more time, this time while reading the text; 5. check the vocabulary box and compare your answers with the solutions.
PODCAST LEVEL A1 – LAURA’S LIFE