Nick is a student of Caminhos Language Centre.  In this blog series he will chart his journey through the entire 16 week Brazilian Portuguese course, from absolute beginner to advanced level. Nick is a native English speaker who has never learned a foreign language before.  He will spend 6 months in Brazil, mostly in Rio de Janeiro. Follow Nick’s progress each week as he discusses his learning experience, his activities at the school, and life in Rio as a new arrival.

Walking to the caminhos language centre from the nearby metro station, it’s hard to imagine there is a better situated language school in Rio de Janeiro! Tucked away on a leafy street in the bohemian area of Ipanema, centred between the azure Atlantic Ocean and the placid lagoon in Zona Sul, it was clear to me that I had made the right choice of school.

From the moment of walking in the door Caminhos feels welcoming and friendly for a newly-arrived student like myself.  I was warmly greeted at reception and, after confirming the booking I had made online a few weeks ago, I was brought to my new class.
There is no ‘average’ Caminhos student. Students come from around the world with different backgrounds, ages, and language experience. My classmates fit that description. However, there is one thing that binds us all: the desire to learn Brazilian Portuguese.
Thankfully, our teacher is more than up to the task!  Rubinho is a fun, engaging, and energetic teacher who guides us with ease through our lessons.  Each day we build upon the information from the day before, and the challenge of learning a new languages becomes less and less daunting.

Our class on Day 1, Week 1. Rubinho (with the official Caminhos workbook) is up to the task!

Our first week covered the very basics, starting with the Portuguese phonetic alphabet but quickly moved onto such subjects as basic sentence structure, the tricky world of prepositions, and the crucial understanding of when to use each of the ‘to be’ verbs, amongst others.  The classes and learning are not solely theoretical, they are highly practical and are geared towards helping us to communicate.
It’s not all work and no play.  After all, this is Rio de Janeiro!  No, Caminhos is also a place to make friends and socialise.  Every weekday there is at least one event or activity run by the school to bring students together, socialize, and practice our Portuguese.  From volleyball to day trips, football to samba classes, there is always something to do.

The official Caminhos cachaça street party!

The headline event for the week was the Friday Cachaça party.  Ostensibly, this party was to welcome the new intake of students to the school but it was much more than that: this was a gathering of the wider Caminhos family.  On the street outside the school we drank fresh caipirihnas, listened to Brazilian music and got to know each other – students and staff, past-pupils and volunteers, friends and family members.


It has only been one week, but one thing is clear: Caminhos Language Centre is much more than just a school, for many it is a home away from home in Rio de Janeiro.