In recent years Brazil has gotten a lot of positive attention all thanks to the Olympics and the World Cup. Although these events have just recently captured the attention of many people, there has always been a mysterious allure to Brazil.
When people mention Brazil, they often imagine the beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the popular song “The Girl from Ipanema”, Caipirinhas, famous soccer players, and of course supermodels like Giselle Bundchen and Adriana Lima.
Brazil is an exotic and beautiful destination that I had the pleasure of visiting twice in the past. I can also tell you first hand that it is a place everyone should visit as soon as they get the opportunity.
Although the sights and scenes are breathtaking, what I feel is Brazil’s best quality is its people. Brazilians are jovial, lively, friendly, and have a passion for life. To be a tourist in Brazil and not be able to see the world through the eyes of a local is really an absolute shame.
There is so much more to experience if you can somehow weave yourself into the culture and mindset that Brazil has.
With that said, I would like to take a moment to talk about a Portuguese course program that will help you do just that.
And as we all know, learning the language of your desired destination is the best way to get a glimpse of the country’s culture.
An Introduction to Rocket Portuguese
I came across Rocket Portuguese after doing some extensive research and reading several reviews of online Portuguese courses. Although many of these reviews had impressive things to offer, many of them were just simply too expensive or involved extra fees for additional support from a Portuguese teacher.
Since I’m a believer in being able to pick up a language by yourself, I continued my search and luckily I found Rocket Portuguese.
Rocket Portuguese is unique in the sense that it offers a completely virtual course without the need of an instructor. Along with this, it also offers the following features:
- 31 Interactive Audio Lessons
This is the main part of the course and each of these audio lessons is approximately 25 minutes long. An added plus to these lessons is that you are being provided with prompts where you can speak along with Paulo and Tereza – the tutors of this course.
- 31 Language and Cultural Lessons
This section offers detailed instruction on Portuguese grammar and how to properly construct your own sentences. It also includes several hundred cores Portuguese words and phrases as well as cultural side notes about Brazil.
- Personalized Dashboard
Here your progress is tracked, and depending on your individual strengths and weaknesses, you are provided lesson recommendations.
- Bonus Survival Kit
This comes with 10 interactive lessons that focus on the key phrases you will need for traveling to Brazil.
This course is very dynamic and it helps you develop your speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills all at once. This course is also a 100% self-study guide that also focuses on Portuguese that is spoken in everyday life, rather than a formal textbook version of the language.
As mentioned before, you will only be focusing on the areas relevant to your specific needs and the program will even recommend certain lessons which specifically focus on your strengths and weaknesses. This is an excellent feature and something that sets Rocket Portuguese apart from the rest.
What Makes This Course So Great?
After having taken the course I realized that there were so many positive qualities about Rocket Portuguese that you don’t get to see until you finally buy the course membership.
Some of these features include:
- Native language instructors:
Throughout each lesson, there will be two native language speakers (Tereza and Paulo) who will guide you through proper pronunciation and listening comprehension exercises. They will also provide cultural side notes that will be important to know before arriving in Brazil.
- Downloadable lessons:
Every audio lesson on this course comes in a fully downloadable MP3 format, which means you can easily practice your listening comprehension anywhere you are. The audio clips are perfect for downloading onto your cell phone, laptop, tablet or Mp3 music player.
- Emphasis on pronunciation and diction:
This program puts a strong focus on proper pronunciation by using voice overlay software. With this feature, you can record your voice and the software will play it back to you alongside a native speaker’s recording in order to help you improve your pronunciation.
- The 6-day free trial:
Before you buy the course or make any sort of commitment, you are offered a full 6 days of total access to all of the lessons in the course. This is an excellent offer since you’ll be able to know what you’re signing up for before making any commitment.
- 60-day money back guarantee:
If for whatever reason you feel that this course doesn’t offer what you were looking for, you are guaranteed a full refund of your purchase price within a 60 day period.
- 100% virtual:
Most importantly, there are no CD’s or extra course books to purchase along with your subscription. Everything you need to improve your language skills is included right on the website.
What’s the Downside?
Although Rocket Portuguese is an excellent course, there were a few things that I felt could have made this course perfect.
First off, I should mention that this course can be taken by students of any level, but the program does not come with an assessment test (as most courses do). Given the situation, if you already have a foundation in the language and you are looking to improve your skills, you may have to do a bit of self-assessment before getting started.
Another thing that should be noted is that this course only focuses on the Portuguese spoken in Brazil, completely leaving out European Portuguese and Portuguese dialects are spoken in Mozambique, Angola, and Cape Verde.
While in Brazil I met locals who claimed that as native speakers they had difficulty understanding the Portuguese spoken outside of Brazil, despite it being the same language.
With this said, make sure that the dialect presented in Rocket Portuguese will benefit you and your personal learning goals.
Despite the few negative points, I feel that Rocket Portuguese is high quality and dynamic course that is perfect for the absolute beginner looking to gain fluency in a short amount of time.
With this course alone, it’s absolutely possible to go from a pure beginner all the way up to upper intermediate level. The key to success is, of course, dedication. Although you can learn basic conversation skills in a short amount of time, full fluency will take several months to achieve.
Is This Program Worth It?
The short answer is “yes” but on a personal level, I feel that there is a lot that can be gained from using Rocket Portuguese.
Before I visited Brazil I had absolutely no knowledge of the language and I found it very difficult to get by and make myself understood in certain situations. Even though they say that English is a universal language, the unfortunate truth is that in Brazil only a certain fraction of the population speaks it.
Those with excellent English skills are usually corporate executives or professionals who do an international business of some kind. The majority of the population might be able to communicate in English to some extent, but there will always be some kind of language barrier between you and the locals.
The interesting thing about Brazil is that although it is surrounded by countries where Spanish is the dominant language, they seem to be in a “language island” of their own. With this said, if you have some knowledge of Spanish, finding a Spanish speaker in Brazil might be even more challenging.
After I brushed up on my Portuguese skills with Rocket Portuguese, I was ready for a second trip to Brazil and I have to say that the second time around was a completely new experience for me.
Once I was able to express my thoughts and ideas in Portuguese, I had the pleasure of meeting some excellent people who I still consider close friends. I was also able to see the country for what it really is and understand things about the mentality and culture of the native Brazilian.
When traveling to Brazil it is also important to note that tourist traps are a very real and sometimes unpleasant thing that you might encounter while on your trip.
By being able to communicate well and understand the conversations around you, I can promise you that you will avoid several inconveniences and get the most enjoyment out of your trip.
Rocket Portuguese is an excellent self-study tool for anyone planning to take a trip to Brazil, no matter if it’s for vacation, business, or anything else in between.
The quality offered in this course definitely relates to the cost and as mentioned earlier, you have very little to lose with the 60-day money back guarantee that you are offered.
But don’t take my word for it!