In the past, I used to believe that it was only possible to learn a language well if you could go and study abroad.
I don’t think this is true anymore.
This idea started to fall apart after moving to Spain. In my dreams, after 3 months of living there, I’d be fluent in Spanish.
In my dreams, I just forgot I was an online Portuguese teacher working from home. And at home our language is Portuguese. Also, I’m not an extroverted outgoing talkative kind of person. To make things worse, when I’m learning a new language, I only open my mouth to speak it if I’m feeling very confident, which normally takes ages to happen.
First time I visited my in-laws I made everyone disappointed. I’d been living in Spain for 8 months and couldn’t speak Spanish. I also felt bad because at home I could do everything I needed, like going to shops and supermarkets, visiting new places, and talking a bit to my neighbor.
I started feeling confident to speak Spanish about 4 years later while I was living in Greece and was participating in a language exchange group.
And I studied more Spanish while living in Portugal.
With all the above, I had some reasons to believe we don’t need to pay for an expensive ticket to fly across the globe and learn a language. With the Internet, we need to have ideas and a plan!
Ideas for your immersion in Brazilian Portuguese at home
- Cook in Portuguese. You can find recipes on YouTube videos or cooking sites or blogs. If you don’t like cooking, try at least the easiest Brazilian dessert: brigadeiro!
- Make a grocery list with the ingredients from the cooking videos or blogs and go look for them in Brazilian or South American shops (in my experience abroad, it’s easier to find South American shops selling a few Brazilian products than Brazilian shops itself).
- Listen to Brazilian music.
- Watch movies, series, documentaries, etc on Netflix.
- Read books, newspapers, magazines, comics, blogs, the news, etc (you can download the first chapter of my Brazilian Portuguese Graded Reader for free!).
- Write a diary or a journal in Portuguese. If you don’t know what to write in your diary, here you have some ideas.
- Make lists in Portuguese: shopping lists, to-do lists, new words lists, books lists, movies lists.
- Hobbies. Look for information and follow tutorials about your hobby in Portuguese.
- Find or start meetups in your city.
- Book online lessons.
- Make friends in Portuguese – because I think trying to switch languages after having an established one with a friend is very hard. And the others may not want it.
- Try DIY in Portuguese with videos.
- Enter Telegram groups (or WhatsApp, WeChat, etc).
- Go to Brazilian restaurants and order food in Portuguese.
- Look for international fairs or exhibitions.
- Play online/multiplayer video games or computer games.
- Do online activities.
- Play (or learn to play) an instrument and sing in Portuguese.
- Use Tinder. Or Tandem to find language exchange partners. And talk to them on Zoom, Skype, Whereby, etc.
- Watch/listen to TEDx Talks.
- Listen to audiobooks, podcasts, radio (I normally recomend Fala Gringo for intermediate students).
- Do your exercises, yoga, dance, etc in Portuguese with YouTube.
- Take up capoeira or Brazilian dance classes.
- Use the Internet in Portuguese to google your questions.
- Post in Social Media in Portuguese.
- Check local community of Brazilians.
- Enter free (or paid) online courses or MOOCS to learn new skills (and I mean courses of any subject, not Portuguese). Depending on the course, you can get certificates!
- Celebrate “festa junina” or other Brazilian National parties by learning about the food, music, clothes, etc and reproducing everything at home.
- Follow Brazilians on social media (not only Brazilian Portuguese teachers but also writers, chefs, YouTubers, artists, athletes, musicians, singers, activists, etc).
- Find a penpal to write letters in Portuguese – I’d love this one! 🙂
- Take part in Facebook groups or chat rooms.
- Use Google Home, Alexa or any virtual assistant in Portuguese (it’s going to be fun!).
- Speak Portuguese at home. To yourself.
- Plan an immersion day or weekend or week.
- Read Wikipedia in Portuguese.
- Accept only Brazilians for Couchsurfing in your home.
- Record yourself speaking Portuguese.
- Find an accountability partner to measure your progress.
- Follow the social media accounts of the Brazilian Embassy in your country. If they are active, they always plan Brazilian events (like the Brazilian Day).
- Become a Duolingo ambassador or event host in your city.
- Start a blog, Facebook page, TikTok or Instagram account, YouTube channel, to share your progress and ask for help and feedback with the language.
- Create a Portuguese corner at home. With Brazilian colors, pictures, souvenirs (or something done by you), books, etc.
- Sit and study.