"Minha patria é lingua portuguesa. "

Fernando Pessoa

As the above quote suggests ("my country is Portuguese"), Portuguese is a language that unites people around the world. It is therefore not uncommon to walk down a street in a major American city and see a Portuguese flag, or hear car horns honking after the Portuguese national has a big win (such as after Euro 2016).

The Lusitanian community in America is sizeable, particularly in urban areas. Subsequently you can expect to find groups of Portuguese native speakers from São Paulo, Porto, Angola, Mozambique, and East Timor, living together in big US cities such as New York, Chicago, and Miami.

The lure of the Rio Carnival and the beaches of Copacabana are becoming attractive holiday destinations, while retirees are choosing Portuguese destinations such as Lisbon and the Algarve as places in the EU to live after retiring.

Whether you want to be fluent to move to Portugal, or pick up a few expressions and phrases to be able to communicate with a native speaker in Brazil, you will need to pick up Portuguese as a second language.

In this article, we will tell you how you can go about learning European Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese (there are some differences between the two) in some of the big cities in the United States.

If you don't live in one of the metropolitan areas listed, then don't worry. There is always the option to learn Portuguese online, or even take private lessons via skype with one of our Superprof tutors. Just check out our website to find out more information.

Where to Take Portuguese Lessons in New York?

The estimates for the number of Brazilians living in America differ greatly. But a report by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign affairs in 2011 said that half of all Brazilians living abroad were living in the U.S.A.

They are generally spread across Florida, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, and California.

New York City in particular is a leading point of entry for Brazilians entering the United States.

West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan has been designated Little Brazil and has historically been a commercial center for Brazilians living in, or visiting, New York City.

Another NYC neighborhood home to many Brazilian Americans is located in Astoria, Queens. Newark, New Jersey is also home to many Brazilian and Portuguese-Americans, most prominently in the city's Ironbound district.

The New York region is an intellectual beacon in the heart of the United States, boasting some of the best universities in the country.

It will therefore come as no surprise that it is relatively easy to find Portuguese classes in New York City.

Lots of Brazilians live in New York
The concentration of Portuguese speakers in NYC make it a great place to learn the language

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the School of Arts and Science at New York University is one such place.

Faculty and instructors, graduate students and undergraduate majors, all work together to advance their knowledge about the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds.

The hallmark of the department is its trans-Atlantic and inter-American focus.

They bridge traditional divides between Spain and Spanish America; between North and South America; between Portugal, Brazil and Africa; and between Spanish America and Brazil, in order to rethink historical, literary, and linguistic boundaries from new perspectives.

The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures (LAIC) at Columbia University fosters a deep understanding of the multiple languages, histories, and cultures of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

Their curriculum is defined by their innovative research at every level. Therefore, as a beginner starting out on their language learning journey, or as someone who is perfecting their fluency in order to become fully bilingual, you will be exposed to the same level dedication by the faculty staff.

Where to Take Portuguese Courses in Boston?

It is similarly easy to find Portuguese lessons in Boston, with a number of different options available.

Portuguese & Brazilian Cultural Studies at Boston University

The Portuguese language is spoken by over 220 million native speakers, and it is an official language in 9 different countries.

Over 200 million of these Portuguese speakers are from Brazil alone, making it the fifth most populous nation in the world. The IMF also estimates that Brazil has the 8th largest economy in the world, although this is projected to improve due to the rapid economic growth that Brazil has seen in the last decade (although this has slowed slightly in recent years).

Brazil has also announced itself as a major cultural player in the world by holding the World Cup for the first time in its history in 2014, and being the first South American country to host the Olympic games in 2016.

Studying Portuguese is your gateway to a vibrant culture of literary excellence, musical prowess, and rich tradition. Let's not forget the Portuguese language has given us Nobel laureates, Academy Award, and Palm D'Or winners.

The Portuguese Program in the Department of Romance Studies offers a full set of language courses (LP111, LP112, LP211, and LP212) to develop students' speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, as well as provide an introduction to the culture of the Portuguese speaking world.

They also offer an Intensive Elementary Portuguese course which is equivalent to one year of college-level Portuguese, and is a great way for Romance-language speakers to get a head start on completing the full two-year set of courses.

While still in the planning and approval stages, the Portuguese Program will soon offer an inter-disciplinary minor which will build upon LP111, LP112, LP211, and LP212, and include other language courses.

Students minoring in Portuguese are encouraged to take courses both from the Portuguese program, but also form other departments and programs that offer complementary courses to their Portuguese studies, such as courses offered by the Departments of History and Political Science.

This is important because Portuguese isn't just a collection of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Portuguese has a specific cultural and historical context which you will need to study in order to increase your proficiency in the language.

Where to Find Portuguese Classes Near You in Chicago

The Department of Romance Languages and Literature at the University of Chicago, currently comprised of 25 core faculty members (as well as several lecturers and affiliated faculty members), offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the language, literature, and culture of the French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan languages.

The windy city has a large Portuguese speaking population
Chicago offers a number of opportunities for studying Portuguese

These programs include the study of literary history, established and current critical methodologies, literary theory and analysis, the sociology of literature, literature and history, cultural studies, films, and foreign language acquisition and pedagogy, to name but a few.

A good comprehension of such topics in a Portuguese context will enhance your learning experience, and allow you to have a better understanding of how to speak Portuguese.

Remember, there are other ways to study Portuguese in Chicago. If the uni route isn't for you, there is nothing better than a private tutor to teach you the ins and outs of Portuguese grammar, verb conjugation, pronunciation, and intonation.

You can find Portuguese tutors close to you on the Superprof website so you don't need to worry about how to learn Portuguese again.

Where to Find Portuguese Classes in Miami?

If you want to study Portuguese in Miami, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Florida is a good place to start. They endeavor to achieve excellence in research, teaching and public service related to the languages, literature, and cultures of the areas and countries where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken.

Research, teaching, and service are mutually enriching activities through which we achieve our shared goals. The Department strives to maintain effective undergraduate and graduate programs of instruction whose quality is sustained by the constant intellectual and professional development of the Department’s faculty, as well as by a strong commitment to service. Consistent with UF’s mission statement, research should contribute “to the international public conversation about the advancement of knowledge.”

The courses offered by the Department are:

  • language,
  • linguistics,
  • literature,
  • film,
  • civilization
  • and cultural studies
Portuguese culture is rich and diverse
Art is an important part of understanding the Portuguese language

These studies enrich related fields such as Anthropology, Art History, Business, Health Sciences, History, International Relations, Journalism, Law, Linguistics, Music, Political Science, Sociology, and other languages and their literature.

With the expansion of dynamic minority populations in the U.S. and the prospect of closer and more complex relationships between the U.S. and Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries around the world, such courses will increasingly have intellectual and practical value.

Learning a language is so much more than just the vocabulary and sentence structure. Understanding the cultural nuances will gives you a better understanding of how to speak Portuguese, as well as enriching your resume.

Guinea-Bissau, Macao, São Tomé and Principe, and Cape Verde are unusual destinations, but you will be pleasantly surprised if you decide to take a complete immersion in the language and culture of one of these countries.

Where to Look for Portuguese Language Classes Near You in Los Angeles

Learning Portuguese in Los Angeles can be done at the USC Dornsife Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where they believe that the study of other languages is essential for the twenty-first-century global citizen.

Immersion in another language fundamentally shapes the way we think.  From the first day students begin to study Portuguese, they are “studying the culture” as well. As a result, they teach culture in their language courses and continue to build language skills throughout the undergraduate curriculum.

Students can capitalize on the growing importance of Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking areas of the world economy. Immerse yourself in some of the world’s most exciting cultural hubs, such as Rio de Janeiro or Lisbon, or study issues of migration in São Paulo.

USC also offers summer study abroad programs. 

The courses allow, amongst other things, an in-depth analysis of the history of Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking world as well as the study of major literary trends and genres in the Portuguese-speaking countries (Portugal, Brazil, Portuguese-speaking Africa).

Where to Study Portuguese in San Francisco?

UC Berkley's Graduate Program

The Spanish & Portuguese department are always eager to bring their cutting-edge expertise and energy to the classroom. The Portuguese program is strong and expanding.

To compliment courses taken within the department, graduate students are encouraged to branch out and establish working relationships with faculty members in other fields, widening the scope of your studies in the process.

The Berkeley community and campus are famous worldwide for being a dynamic intellectual community which is committed to the development of critical thinkers. As a student there, you will find the same qualities in the department of Spanish and Portuguese, and in the process you will learn so much more than a few new words and greetings.

San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro might be closer than you think
With daily direct flights from San Francisco to Rio de Janeiro, you could be sipping a caipirinha on Copacabana before you know it

In addition to invaluable support from the professors, graduate students depend on one another for continued intellectual growth and feedback. Many students participate in self-generated working groups, often funded by the Townsend Center.

Berkeley, San Francisco and the larger Bay Area offer unparalled literary and political communities with phenomenal access to cultural events, all set within the gorgeous landscape of the San Francisco Bay area. 

Language schools are also numerous in San Francisco. If you only want to learn a few words and phrases to have a conversational level before you travel to Brazil or Portugal, then this is a better bet than studying a whole degree in Portuguese. Such places are perfect for taking Portuguese classes in San Francisco, and they can help you reach your goals in a different way to a university.

We also invite you once again to try private lessons: the first hour is usually free, while the overall cost (without an intermediate company) is usually between 15 and 25 dollars per hour.

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