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Where to Take Portuguese Classes in Belo Horizonte

It seems like every other week a new gringo is asking about Portuguese classes for foreigners in Belo Horizonte. Since this is such a common query we’ve decided to do some research and share our findings with the community. Here are the options that you have:

Informal Private Teachers
You can find them through word of mouth or through Facebook groups like BH Gringo Network, RealLife English Belo Horizonte, BH Teachers Network, Brazilian Gringos Learning Portuguese, etc. You can also try posting a Facebook status (in Portuguese!) asking for a Portuguese teacher and see which ones respond or tag their friends. When you’re out and about, keep mentioning to your Brazilian friends that you need a teacher and someone will certainly send you a contact in no time. If you don’t already have the Whatsapp messaging app, get it, as that’s the preferred method of communication in Brazil.

Prices vary depending on the teacher, their experience, what material they provide (if any), etc. Some teachers will work for R$25/hour while others will charge R$50/hour or more. Some are just looking for a language exchange (an hour of Portuguese in exchange for an hour of English, for example). Ask for an initial interview to set up a schedule, price, and take a look at what kind of material they use, if any. Experienced teachers should be able to not only sell you on their teaching method but also teach you a thing or two during the initial meeting.

If you are open to the idea, there are also plenty of teachers who give Portuguese classes through Skype. You can find them through the Facebook groups mentioned above.

Taking Classes at UFMG
The Portuguese for Foreigners course at the Universidade Federal Minas Gerais is designed to provide foreigners with Portuguese practice. There are four levels – Beginner, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Advanced.
When: February – June (Semester 1) or August – December (Semester 2)
Where: Faculdade de Letras – UFMG (Av. Antônio Carlos 6627, Pampulha)
How much: The cost for one semester (52 hours of class, approximately 1.5 hours, twice a week) is R$565, must be paid all at once, and is non-refundable.
What you’ll need: Passport with a valid visa. If you aren’t a beginner, you will also need to take an entrance test to see which level of Portuguese you are. The test is offered a few times before the start of each semester and costs R$10.

For more information, check out this link (in English) or this link (Portuguese) from UFMG.

At ELS we offer visa advice and consultation. We’ve all been through the same headaches with visa issues before, so give us a call (3245-2835) or an email (contato@elsbh.com) and we’ll see how we can help.

Professional Classes at a Language School
Many major language schools (national and regional) offer a Portuguese for Foreigners class. The key is to find out which schools invest in their Portuguese teachers to provide quality instruction versus which schools will just gladly take your money in exchange for mediocre classes. Rates can be anywhere from R$80/hour and up for individual classes, or less for group classes.

It’s worth the effort to meet the main teachers or directors of the school and talk with the other foreigners that take the classes. Make sure you’re comfortable with everything – the location, the physical environment of the school, the professors that work there, the schedules they can offer you, and if it’s a group class, the other students that will be learning with you. What kind of clients does the school work with? Do they hire native Brazilian teachers with Portuguese teaching experience? Do they aim to create a community of foreigners instead of just selling Portuguese classes to bumbling gringos? Do they use technology and electronic resources during class? Do they offer bulletproof coffee?

Here at ELS we offer a Portuguese for Foreigners course which you can learn more about by clicking here.