Interested in learning a bit of Portuguese while you are here in Salvador? Then Barra is the neighborhood for you — all three of the Portuguese language schools that are geared towards foreigners are located in Barra.
The basic model for teaching Portuguese is almost identical across the three schools and they all have very similar offerings:
- Small group, week long-intensives (3-4 hours/day)
- Private classes
- Student testing into the class level that is right for you (including “no Portuguese” — that was me)
- Assistance finding housing (homestay, apartment/flat, hotel)
- Cultural activities, such as culinary classes, music, dance, capoeira, etc.
- Specialty classes that vary by school
- Affordable pricing
- Custom workbooks and class materials
- Taught by native Brazilian Portuguese speakers
I honestly don’t think you could go wrong with any of the three schools — I have heard or experienced great things with all of them and they all have solid reputations. What it will come down to for you is the feeling you get talking to the staff and the extras that the school offers based upon what you want to get out of your trip to Salvador.
ICI Cultural (formerly known as Idíoma) is where I took my Portuguese classes when I first came to Brazil — the first time I took a month-long intensive, came back and took some private lessons, and came back again and took another three weeks of small group intensives. The owner of the school is a woman named Maria, and she has an experienced team of professors on staff.
In addition to small group, private, and online classes, ICI organizes culinary, music, dance, and dive classes as well as volunteer work and local cultural excursions.
When my Afro-Brazilian dance instructor first came to Salvador, she took her Portuguese language classes at Diálogo, and has nothing but good things to say about the school. They have been around for almost 30 years, so they must be doing something right!
Like ICI Cultural, they offer small group and private classes, host dance, culinary, and cultural activities and offer some specialty courses, including a combo trip between Salvador and Rio.
BrazilLink is a relatively new language school — first opening it’s doors in 2015. The school founder, Graça, previously taught at ICI Cultural, and is a excellent instructor.
Like the other two schools, they offer both small group instruction as well as specialty courses and their point of differentiation is that they really see themselves as cultural guides to Salvador. They offer some free local tours as well a number of additional programs including visits to candomblé houses, sports programs, introduction to carnaval, and more.