When asked what makes Brazil a popular study travel destination, language providers offered plenty of reasons. “Here, besides learning the language, students can also learn about our culture the way we live,” explains Marcia Camisa Carmagnani, Director of Fast Forward Language and Cultural Institute in São Paulo. “Brazil and its people are unique there’s something intangible that can be felt when someone visits.” Shirlei Strücker Calgaro, Director of VIP Centro de Idiomas in Panambi, explains further. “Brazil is one of the most beautiful countries in the world it is multicultural and its people are really receptive, friendly, warm and enthusiastic,” she says.
Providers say that enrolments have increased over the past few years, which has resulted in the Brazilian agency association Belta opening an inbound department for Portuguese programmes in the country. “Our goal is to work together with the government to facilitate visa issues and to make information more accessible to our partners,” says Rafaela Rolim, Director of the inbound department named Study in Brazil. “We expect that Brazil will grow a lot as a cultural exchange destination within the next couple of years,” she enthuses.
The growing popularity of the country isn’t only down to its travel appeal, but also to the quality of its courses. At First Class Idiomas, Márcia Mota Macedo, Director, says programmes are structured around the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) which divides students into six levels, from complete beginner to proficient. “Our methods and approach help our students to communicate effectively in any Portuguese-speaking environment,” she explains, adding, “Our courses are very popular because they focus on real life situations.” Meanwhile at Fast Forward, “Lessons focus on communication beyond grammar books and written exercises,” says Carmagnani. “Our professors include a variety of oral and listening elements with up-to-date technology to stimulate a comprehensive understanding of the Portuguese language and Brazilian culture.”
Portuguese schools in Brazil have also grown and adapted. At VIP, Calgaro says, “The number of teachers has increased and they have had refresher courses and training in order to improve the quality of training.” And at Fast Forward, “It’s been 24 years since we started,” says Carmagnani. “We have changed some points of our programmes, as we believe that a language programme must be complemented with a wide range of social and cultural activities, not only to allow students to use and practise their Portuguese but also to maximise student exposure to Brazilian culture.”
CI Experience Brazil, the incoming business unit of Brazilian agency CI Intercâmbio, works with two experienced schools to promote Portuguese language programmes. Director, Paula Prado, says, “The reasons for learning the Portuguese language in Brazil are very varied, including professional, commercial, cultural tourism, university programmes and also personal motivations. With the opportunities to exchange cultural experiences and at the same time learn a new language, improving the student’s resume, and applying all knowledge obtained in daily situations and in the work environment are also substantial attractions.”
Providers are also keen to praise their locations. “Curitiba is a very vibrant city and there is always something to see and do,” says Macedo, adding that the gastronomy is rich. One can also enjoy the peace and calmness of its abundant parks and squares. And VIP Centro de Idiomas is located in a small cosy town, according to Carmagnani. “People feel safer and can explore culture in a comprehensive manner. The cost of living is lower here, so there is the possibility of enjoying it a lot more.”
In terms of the nationalities, schools report some interesting trends. “Mostly German students come to learn Portuguese with us since our town was colonised by Germans, but we have had many students from North America and Latin America,” continues Calgaro. Fast Forward also has many students from Latin America and the USA, according to Carmagnani, as well as from Europe and Asia, “thus creating a friendly and diverse learning environment”. She adds, “Year after year, [we] have more and more students...but I think we have more business students coming to Brazil than in recent years.” And over in Curitiba, Macedo enthuses that student numbers at First Class have been growing exponentially since the school’s inception. “Since 2012, we have received students from 38 different countries and from all the continents,” she says. email@example.com
A selection of Portuguese language schools in Brazil
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