For many, the allure of learning a language is not just about the words and grammar, but the culture and experiences that come with it. And Porto, with its rich history and vibrant local life, offers a unique blend of traditional and contemporary Portuguese culture. As you wander through the narrow alleys, you’ll hear the melodic rhythm of Portuguese conversations, from animated market vendors selling fresh produce to friends catching up over a cup of coffee. It’s this daily immersion that makes learning in Porto so special.
Moreover, Porto’s size is its strength. Porto offers a slightly more intimate setting than Lisbon that allows for deeper connections with locals than Lisbon, but unlike smaller cities, there are always plenty of in-person and group classes available — you don’t have to wait until the academic year starts again.
And regardless of what type of class you choose, don’t forget there are some fantastic resources out there that can compliment your learning. Practice Portuguese, for example, is a very affordable language learning studio that offers a podcast, grammar lessons, vocabulary, and much, much more. Language learning tutor Mia Esmeriz is also from Porto, so if you take her course or listen to her videos, you’ll get to hear lots of interesting snippets about the city.
Where to Find Group Classes
There are a good number of language schools in Porto that offer group classes, but a few of the most popular names include:
Inlingua Porto stands out as one of the city’s most established language schools, boasting a global network that emphasizes effective and immersive language learning. Their courses are tailored to fit various learning paces and styles, ensuring that each student receives individualized attention. With a team of experienced instructors and a curriculum that integrates cultural nuances, Inlingua Porto promises a comprehensive learning experience that goes beyond the textbook.
Oficina de Português
Nestled in the heart of Porto, Oficina de Português offers a unique blend of traditional teaching methods and modern pedagogical techniques. The school prides itself on its small class sizes, ensuring that students receive personalized attention and ample opportunities for interaction. Beyond the classroom, Oficina de Português often organizes cultural events and excursions, allowing students to experience the Portuguese language in real-world settings.
Fast Forward Institute
Fast Forward Institute is renowned for its intensive courses that aim to make students proficient in a short span of time. Their dynamic teaching approach focuses on practical communication skills, ensuring that students are not only fluent but also confident speakers. With a diverse student body hailing from all corners of the globe, learners at Fast Forward benefit from a multicultural environment that enriches their language journey.
FLUP at the University of Porto
For those seeking an academic approach to language learning, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FLUP) at the University of Porto offers rigorous Portuguese courses. As part of one of Portugal’s most prestigious universities, FLUP provides students with a deep dive into the linguistic, cultural, and historical aspects of the Portuguese language. With access to university resources, libraries, and events, students at FLUP experience a holistic education that bridges theory and practice.
Português Comum is a gem among Porto’s language schools, offering a unique and intimate approach to learning Portuguese. With a focus on real-life communication, the school emphasizes interactive lessons that mirror everyday situations, ensuring students are well-equipped to navigate life in Porto and beyond. The passionate instructors at Português Comum are dedicated to creating a nurturing environment where students feel confident to express themselves, ask questions, and truly immerse in the language. Additionally, the school often organizes cultural outings and events, allowing students to practice their skills while exploring the rich tapestry of Porto’s history and traditions.
Where to Find One-on-One Classes
- Speak – Offers a great way to meet new people and learn Portuguese.
- Tandem Exchange sites like mylanguageexchange.com and tandem.net are great for finding language exchange partners. It’s also worth joining Facebook groups like Couchsurfing Porto, Porto Language Exchange Club, and Language Exchange Porto to look for potential partners.
Where to Find Intensive Portuguese Classes
If you’re limited on time, or just want to get the basic down quickly, intensive classes can be one of the most effective ways of doing that.
- Inlingua Porto offers intensive classes for both mini-groups (more cost-effective) and for individuals (more effective).
- Fast Forward offers intensive classes for both small groups and individuals.
- Superprof can be a useful site for finding individual tutors that offer in-personal (presencial) classes. However, be sure to check the person is native to Portugal and not Brazil as this isn’t always marked (unless you’re learning European Portuguese).
Where to get extra practice
Your head might be spinning after all of that language learning, but you may also welcome opportunities to practice speaking Portuguese.
One of the challenges of being in an international city like Porto is that many people speak English to a high level and so you don’t get many opportunities to practice speaking Portuguese outside of the little bit you do at cafes and restaurants. Thankfully, there are a few meetup groups where you can get a bit more practice in and really cement what you’ve learnt.
Learning on a budget
If you’re short on cash, and you’re finding accommodation in Porto quite expensive, don’t worry: we can still make this dream happen.
Group classes are often the cheapest option, but you can often supplement them with individual classes on Italki. Italki classes, which typically take place over Skype or Zoom, can be as cheap as around €10, which is normally half or even a third of what you would expect to pay in-person in Porto.
Another option is to find a language exchange partner where you can swap your native language in return for their instruction in learning Portuguese.
There are also lots of resources for learning Portuguese for free that are listed on Portugalist.