So, what are the motives behind your desire to master a new language? 

Is it to add another skill to your already impressive resume? Or, are you planning a Eurotrip next summer with a stop off in Portugal, venturing through the infamous Caminos across the country which countless Americans complete each year?

Well, mastering a new language certainly has its positives. Firstly, it heightens one’s cognitive abilities which aid in the promotion of overall well-being as well as the development of memory and academic capacity. 

Achieving fluency can also have its benefits in the world of business. With each country becoming more economically reliant on the import and export of goods, learning a prominent world language such as Portuguese has ample benefits for those involved in a multinational business. 

Multilingualism is slowly becoming normative in today’s age, and the more languages you can speak fluently, the more attractive your credentials will look. 

Considering Spanish is one of the main additional languages taught actress grades 6-12 across the Chicago schooling system, this can be a positive for those looking to learn Portuguese. 

With both deriving languages deriving from Latin, the majority of the vocabulary within each poses a strong similarity. 

However, the overall dictation and pronunciation can at times be completely different. So, if you are fluent in Spanish, you will still require additional support to ensure your Portuguese speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills are up to a similar level of proficiency. 

Chicago is known for being a multicultural city, and according to a study conducted by Acutrans, over 30% of the city's population speak an additional language whilst at home. 

With a strong cultural makeup, the Windy City is home to those of Spanish, Polish, Chinese, and Portuguese descent, making up the majority of the percentage aforementioned. 

With it being the sixth most spoken language in the world, learning Portuguese will always come into use, especially for those with a sense of adventure. 

To cater to that fact, there are a wealth of opportunities for those looking to delve into what is considered one of the most attractively spoken languages in the world. 

Chicago theater
Chicago is known for its culturally diverse neighborhoods. (Source: Visualhunt)

Portuguese Programs & Courses in Chicago

Is your desire to enhance your language skills because of an unexplored interest in Hispanic history or literature?

Well, The Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences offers a higher education program that covers just that. 

With a humanities graduate program focusing explicitly on Spanish and Portuguese teachings, students will cover everything from: 

  1. Latin American & U.S. relations
  2. Historical and modern-day Hispanic literature
  3. An in-depth overview of the development of Southern American culture

Or, are you instead of looking for an ongoing evening course to coincide with your current schedule? 

From week intensive courses during the summer, to online courses that can be accessed and revisited at any time, there are ample possibilities for those looking to get involved. This isn't uncommon in other cities in the United States, with the likes of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston also containing higher educational establishments and private language schools which offer programs upon a similar premise. 

The University of Illinois currently offers two separate courses that are constituted of group-based lessons and online activities that are done so on the university forum, so work can be accessed by both student and lecturer online.

Portuguese Blended: Brazilian Popular Culture is the first option. Within this course, students are to cover a range of topics in which the approach is exclusively in the form of Brazilian Portuguese. 

Rapid Portuguese for Romance Language Speakers. You heard it right, the language, originating from Latin, is considered to be one of the most attractively spoken forms of speech, and Portugal boasts a vast anthology of historical and poetical romance fiction. 

Language Loop, a Chicago-based school located on North Jefferson St (closest metro - Clinton), offers a number of programs from: 

  • Private lessons
  • ‘Dive and Survive’ - intensive one week programs for beginners
  • Semi-private programs
  • Live video lessons
  • One-to-one support with academics.

The style of teaching simply boils down to the individual's preferences. 

Establishing the end objective is paramount from the beginning. 

Do you wish to learn to an expertly level so you can one day complete an exchange semester in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, or Lisbon, Portugal?

Establishing this helps to identify which program/course/form of tuition is most reflective of your needs. 

A dictionary highlighting the definition of learning
Learning a new language shouldn't be taxing. A tutor should provide the necessary resources to make the learning experience interesting. (Source: Visualhunt)

Hiring a Portuguese Tutor: The Benefits & Pitfalls

Amongst the options already mentioned, a popular option is to hire your own personal language tutor. Whether you're in Los Angeles or Houston, specialist language tutors offer their services throughout the country. 

Sometimes this can stir doubt amongst students, with the expectation of cost being the main factor. 

However, with the ever-changing economy, along with the development of technology, such opportunities have become much more affordable. 

Online platforms such as Superprof contain a wealth of tutors that offer their services for a range of prices. 

Why are some tutors more inexpensive than others? This usually boils down to experience level, yet it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone with a Ph.D. from Berkley in phonetical language studies means they will be most suitable to your current needs and situation.

Let’s say, hypothetically, of course, you have very limited knowledge in regards to the language. 

With Chicago being renown for its higher educational establishments (Northwestern Unversity, The University of Chicago to name but a few), there is a large concentration of those that are still in the midst of their studies, that are looking for opportunities to make some extra bucks. 

With Chicago being a cultural metropolis, a large volume of these students speak more than one language, and a high number of those speak Portuguese. 

Therefore, students in this position offer their language abilities to support and help beginners.

As their experience is limited, their hourly rate is significantly cheaper than you may expect. 

This is something to take complete advantage of, as there are ample benefits to having a one-to-one language tutor that works with you on a regular basis. 

The Benefits: 

  • One-to-One Attention. Unlike being in a group-based learning scenario, the attention is completely focused on the student, with the tutor holding their undivided focus toward your progression. 
  • More student engagement. There are four main principle learnings when it comes to understanding a new language: reading, writing, listening & speaking. Naturally, the student will have more opportunities to exercise each, for they aren't competing with others, thus aiding in faster development. 
  • Immediate feedback opportunities. Said to be one of the driving focuses on modern-day education, the opportunity to receive immediate, constructive feedback helps to prevent errors and certain misconceptions that can get picked up along the way. 
A Portuguese flag in the distance
In total, there are eight countries in the world in which Portuguese is the main language. (Source: Visualhunt)

The Potential Downfalls: 

  • The Price. As discussed earlier, one-to-one language tutoring has certainly become more accessible. Yet, if you are searching for a tutor with certain specialties, then the hourly rate is likely to increase. 
  • Availability. It is essential that upon finding a tutor you are comfortable investing in a long term set of lessons in which your schedule will coincide with your own. It is suggested that weekly/once fortnightly lessons take part on the same day each week. This allows for both continuity and consistency for both tutor and student. 

Having your own personal tutor can also expose you to real-life experiences reflective of Portuguese and Brazilian culture. 

It can also foster a deeper understanding of the language, whilst developing stronger communication skills in the process. 

Confidence is paramount. And when it comes to learning a new language, students can at times be apprehensive, especially when communicating with those you don't know. The more opportunities you have of exercising your Portuguese speaking skills, the more inclined you will feel to speak confidently. 

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