I am awful at languages.
I tried learning Spanish (quit after obtaining a basic proficiency but recently restarted)…
tried learning French (totally hopeless)…
and tried learning Thai (failed MISERABLY)…
I’ve had a wide range of teachers, schools, and styles. Pretty sure the weak link in this language learning equation is ME.
A few months after arriving in Brazil, I realized I needed to learn Portuguese if I wanted a fun or social life in Rio de Janeiro – it seems like no one speaks English, and even if they do, they prefer not to.
Study Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro
After extensive research, I came across Casa Do Caminho Language Center, and started taking classes at the elementary level (Class A), and moved onto B1, before moving into private lessons.
For about 350 reais a week you study 20 hours a week – 4 hours, every weekday (with the current devaluation of the real, that is less than $100!). That is an INSANE value!
The classes incorporate grammar, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and even culture, through real-world activities and discussions, including Brazilian dance and music, political/social issues in Brazil. (if you have a restrictive schedule, you can also take private lessons at a great price)
The school even free activities every weekday for students, including guided favela tours, hikes, capoeira, Samba lessons, football, and volleyball.
The activities in themselves are worth it – every single friend I’ve made in Rio de Janeiro, I have met through the school. All of my friends have either been students, volunteers, teachers, or employees of Casa Do Caminho. The school attracts some seriously awesome people. Joining a language class at Casa do Caminho was the number one best thing I did since coming to Rio de Janeiro – for introducing me to friends, to volunteering, to hearing about other activities. My whole life in Rio revolves around connections I made at Casa do Caminho.
Best of all, the proceeds from the language course benefit children. One program includes after school activities for at risk children from the favela, providing fun and functional activities and teaching social, life, and educational skills.
Public schools in Rio are not mandatory, run for only a few hours a day (including a recess), and have teachers that are woefully overburdened (sometimes close to 100 students in a class, no air conditioning, and without adequate resources)? Many children cannot properly read or write, even at the middle school level.
Casa do Caminho supports programs that offer after-school programs for elementary students, English language classes to motivated teenagers, and scholarships to help hard working students get out of the poor public school system and receive a quality education at a private school.
The classes helped so much with more Portuguese, I met amazing people, and I’m happy to know that the school supports really worthwhile social causes. There are a lot of Portuguese schools in Rio, but Casa do Caminho is the most professional, fun, and affordable program I’ve come across. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.