For those of us who have moved to Portugal, learning the language is one of the most difficult aspects of our new life. Portuguese turns out to be a lot harder to learn than many of us thought it would be! It takes time, effort and determination to reach a point where you can have meaningful conversations and any help we receive along the way is invaluable.
I started my Facebook group European Portuguese Resource Sharing in August 2017 because although I had done several courses in Portuguese and followed the few podcasts that there were in European Portuguese, I noticed that many of the other foreigners I met in Portugal had lost motivation to learn the language and thought that a shared space to offer encouragement and support might be helpful.
One unexpected consequence of setting up the group was the number of Portuguese teachers who joined. This has been invaluable in providing corrections and translations when people are looking for help and also for highlighting the occasional Brazilian Portuguese post that slips through the net.
I have always encouraged teachers to advertise their lessons in the group (although other advertising is not allowed) as I think a lot of people are looking for classes, either locally to them or online, and the group has the added benefit of previous students being able to recommend the teachers they like.
One popular feature is ‘sing along sexta’ where I share a video of a Portuguese song with the lyrics, this is an excellent way to practice the language even if you don’t understand all the words!
The group now has 3700 members and a high engagement rate. There is new content on there every day and lots to look back on using the ‘topics’ and ‘units’. Even if you’re studying on your own at home, it’s a place you can ask those little questions that come up from time to time.
My top tip for learning Portuguese: Speak it as much as you can. Put yourself into situations which challenge your Portuguese. Treasure those native speakers who are willing to take time to correct your pronunciation.
In my quest to find opportunities to speak Portuguese I volunteer at my local Refood and have even appeared on stage speaking Portuguese!