Category Archives for "Language"

The Biggest Mistake Made By Visitors Going To Brazil

Meet Justin.

Justin just arrived to Rio de Janeiro for the first time. He’s ecstatic.

First time visitors going to Brazil are in awe of the atmosphere when they land. They can’t believe they are really in the Marvelous City. The beaches are wonderful. The weather is warm and humid. The palm trees.

Rio is really a beautiful city.

Like many other men who want to visit Brazil, Justin wants to know what Brazilian women are like.

In barber shops and online communities across America, many men are told:

  • In Brazil, the women cook and clean for you 24/7.
  • You can be fat and ugly and still get dimes just because of your personality.
  • In Brazil, you can be a man. Very different from other places.
  • All you have to say is “Hello” and Brazilian women will be yours. They smile and are very friendly.


Many men visiting Brazil are eager to meet Brazilian women. They hear so much about the women in cities like Rio de Janeiro and want to see if it’s true.

Are Brazilian women really as great as they say?


In this drawing, Justin sees a young woman who is physically attractive to him.

He is finally getting his shot at talking to a Brazilian woman in Brazil. Being from America, Justin naturally speaks in English.

He knew Brazilians didn’t speak English as their native language but he didn’t think it was a big deal.

He’s been to a few other international cities and he got by just fine with English although he spent most of his time with his friends and hanging out on resorts with English-speaking employees.

Three months before his trip, Justin said, “I’ll study a little Portuguese before I go.”

Three months later and he didn’t even learn how to ask someone what their name is.

There is a high chance the woman does not understand what he just said. But he is still shooting his shot.


Oh no.

Justin’s face says it all.

The beautiful Brazilian woman doesn’t understand what he said. She responds with, “Huh, I didn’t understand. Bye!”

Justin isn’t happy with her response. She is running away from him since she can’t communicate with him in her language.


Justin is furious.

He can’t believe the woman just left. He doesn’t understand what she said.

Justin is frustrated. Everything he heard about Brazil was not confirmed in his first conversation with a Brazilian woman.

He expected her to understand what he said.

Actually, this exchange was the tipping point during Justin’s first day in Brazil. Justin has realized most Brazilians don’t speak English.

And talking to this Brazilian woman was the last straw.

He is angry with himself. He wishes he didn’t make the same mistake many visitors going to Brazil make.

The Mistake Visitors Going To Brazil Make


This article was inspired by a recent comment from a reader going to Brazil soon.

I know. I’m in several groups on facebook, i scour youtube for any videos pertaining to the country and culture and I even have a couple of female friends from Brazil. I don’t want to go over there like many guys and be just a tourist that doesn’t speak the language at all. I like being able to go somewhere and get around fairly unfettered. I enjoy seeing the real culture, not the touristy stuff that people that don’t take the time to learn the language are stuck seeing and doing. Besides, I’m going to be travelling solo.

This guy gets it.

If you really want to have a great time in Brazil, you should learn Portuguese.

I’ve written plenty articles about it already. But this comment needed to be made public. If you are the type of visitor going to Brazil who doesn’t want to be limited to the tourist attractions and Copacabana then learning Portuguese is a must.

A lot of men go to Brazil and think they can get by with English or Spanish. Of course you can visit another country without speaking the language at all.

But would it really be everything you wanted?

Would you be able to talk to everyone you want to talk to?

It’s very annoying talking to someone who doesn’t understand anything you say right? Imagine how Brazilians feel when visitors going to Brazil know zero Portuguese.

You should at least learn the basics.

You have to put in the time and effort to study.

If you are interested in talking to Brazilian women like many guys are then it’s mandatory.

Or you will end up like our friend Justin.

How To Learn Brazilian Portuguese

It takes time. I recommend setting at least three months aside to learn basic Portuguese. You want to know how to order food, ask for directions, count from one to one hundred, etc.

Check out this article about how to learn Portuguese using a specific goal: How To Set A Language Goal & Learn Portuguese

Read this article for my top language resources for Portuguese: Learn Portuguese With This One Book

And if you are really serious about speaking Portuguese, read this article and check out Semantica-Portuguese: Semantica Portuguese: The #1 Online Course For Brazilian Portuguese

The Choice Is Yours

A lot of visitors going to Brazil won’t take the time to learn the language. They don’t think it’s necessary. Or they plan to stick to tourist friendly locations.

Well, the choice is yours. Do you plan on being a tourist or a real traveler?



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How To Set A Language Goal And Learn Portuguese

Your Language Goal

Don’t focus on the outcome, focus on the process.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed over a big goal.

I want to save $100,000. I want to travel the world. I want to start a business. I want to lose fifty pounds.

You picture yourself on the top of the mountain, looking down from where you started. But what about the climb and tools needed to make it?

How are you going to save the first $1,000. Which country will you visit first? Do you even have a passport? What business will you start and is it profitable and needed? Have you read any books about how to start a successful business?

You want to lose fifty pounds? Do you have a gym membership? Do you know how many calories you should be eating to lose a pound? Two pounds?

The process is more important than the outcome, especially when it comes to learning a language like Portuguese.

I’ve always made the mistake of thinking about the end goal: speaking fluent Portuguese. But I never really put in the time to create a strategy to become fluent.

I’d do a little studying here, study a bit there. I thought this was enough to get to fluency.

But it’s not.

You have to create a process. In order to learn Portuguese, you have to set a clear language goal that shows what you’ve learned so far.

So, how do you set a language goal?

How To Create The Process

If you’re like me, you aren’t the type of person who can go through life without a plan. You have to set milestones to check your progress.

A language goal is no different. You need to answer a few questions while you learn Portuguese. Let’s go through them.

What Is My Language Goal?

You’re learning Portuguese. Ok, cool. But how much do you actually want to learn?

Some of you may only want to know beginner or what I like to call tourist Portuguese. Tourist Portuguese is the bare essentials. You want to order a meal, check into your hotel, ask for basic directions, etc.

Then you have intermediate Portuguese or conversational Portuguese. This is a great level for most people. You can get by in Brazil and have a great time with local Brazilians without a translator. You might not know everything people say, but you know enough where you are never completely lost.

And finally, you have fluency. Fluent Portuguese is the goal for people who really love Brazilian culture. They want to work in Brazil, date a Brazilian, run a nonprofit organization or just live and retire in the country.

Do you know which level of Portuguese you really want to get to?

When Do I Want To Achieve This Goal?

Every goal has a deadline. If you don’t create one, you’ll never complete it.

Let’s say you are a true newbie to Portuguese. You don’t know anything. Your first language goal is to become a beginner and it just so happens that you want to visit Brazil in a few months.

Your deadline could be three to four months. You really could learn beginner Portuguese in a month. But connect your deadline to an event if you can. Going to Brazil is a great motivator to learn Portuguese.

Give yourself time, but not too much or else you run the risk of slacking off.

Which Language Skill Needs The Most Improvement?

If you are a true beginner, you will be poor at every skill. I always recommend putting emphasis on speaking and reading.

The 4 Language Skills are: Speaking, Listening, Reading & Writing.

If you have studied Portuguese for a few of months, you will know your weaknesses. Now is the time to focus on them and improve. Your weakest link might be speaking like me. You will spend the majority of your time speaking as much Portuguese as you can.

If you have difficulty understanding what people say, you would need to focus on your listening skills. You might find an online Brazilian Portuguese course like Semantica Portuguese as a great tool to improve your listening comprehension.

Whatever the case, find your weak spot and work on it.

How Many Hours Will I Study Each Week?

Simple question. How many hours will you commit to reaching your language goal? I always recommend ESD: Every Single Day.

You have to study Brazilian Portuguese every day to improve. Maximum exposure to the language is crucial. If you can’t live in Brazil and experience complete immersion, ESD is the next best thing.

I recommend at least spending an hour a day actively studying Portuguese. Active studying is writing in Portuguese, speaking in Portuguese, watching Brazilian videos like Semantica or BrazilPod for understanding, answering questions in a grammar book like Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar, etc.

Then spend significant time passively immersing yourself in Portuguese by doing things such as:

There are 24 hours in a day. You can find at least one hour to study Portuguese.

My Biggest Concern About Not Reaching My Goal Is:

  • I don’t have enough time, I’m too busy with work.
  • I’m not good at learning languages, so it’s going to be hard.
  • Learning a language is too expensive. I can’t afford Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, a Portuguese tutor, etc.
  • I won’t be able to learn until I can live in Brazil.

All of those concerns are understandable. We all have obstacles when it comes to any goal. Do any of these concerns relate to you? Or do you have a different one?

It’s smart to acknowledge a problem. But what about a solution?

I Will Overcome This Concern By:

Winners don’t quit and accept problems. They fix them.

What are you afraid of that could hold you back from reaching your language goal and how will you defeat it?

Don’t have enough time to study one hour a day? I don’t buy it unless you work 16 hour days. Cut out TV time. You don’t have to watch shows live. Watch it later when it shows up online.

Do you believe you aren’t good at learning languages? If a monkey can learn sign language, you can learn another human language. Turn on your favorite song, get pumped up and find confidence in yourself! You can do it.

You don’t have to buy expensive language learning software like Rosette Stone or Pimsleur. I’ve already written an article with my recommended language resources for learning Brazilian Portuguese. They are affordable.

I always recommend Semantica Portuguese because it’s the best online Brazilian Portuguese course available today.

And although I encourage people to spend significant time in Brazil and to experience the culture, I know everyone can’t do that.

Still, that isn’t an excuse to not learning Portuguese. You can create an immersive environment in your home and daily life with the suggestions mentioned in this article.

I Will Know I Reached My Language Goal When:

How will you know you made it to the mountain top?

There has to be a personal final test you can grade yourself with.

If you want to be conversational, you might say something like: I will know I am conversational when I have a 5 minute conversation with someone without being clueless for more than a few seconds.

If you are shooting for Tourist Portuguese: I will know I am a beginner when I able to order lunch, ask for directions and introduce myself.

This is your own finish line and extremely important to write down. Why?

In order to know how to study and what to study, you need to know what you want to do.

You have created the process for your language goal.

One Page Language Plan

Inspired by the one page business plan from the book The $100 Startup, I created a one page language plan for you to download and fill out yourself!

I’ve completed mine. My language goal is to be fluent in Brazilian Portuguese by 2017.

What about you?

Learn Brazilian Portuguese With HelloTalk

I planned to review HelloTalk during the summer of 2015, but I wasn’t impressed with it.

There were a lot of Brazilians on it, but I didn’t find too many who stayed on the app long enough to actually help me learn Brazilian Portuguese!

So, I shelved this review and I deleted the app.

Fast forward to early December, 2015.

I was playing around on my iPhone and decided to download HelloTalk again for another go.

July, 2015 must have been a very bad time because there are tons of Brazilian HelloTalk users eager to help me learn Brazilian Portuguese now.

Whatever the case, I felt obligated to write-up this review because I’ve found HelloTalk helpful in finding Brazilians to have language exchange.

I don’t recommend too many things on this site, so this review article is a rarity.

Nonetheless, it’s Rio In A Week certified.

The Rundown

Key Features

  • Over 100 languages to learn
  • Group Chat
  • Search for native speakers in various ways (online, nearest to you, nationality, age, city, etc.)
  • There is a voice-to-text/text-to-voice feature (similar to the Google Translate feature)
  • Free calls on Wi-Fi
  • Make language partners favorites
  • Grammar correction tool
  • Translation tool

What I Like About HelloTalk

The first thing that comes to mind is the accessibility to Brazilians who want to learn English and converse with you.

There aren’t too many apps that let you contact Brazilians who are living in Brazil and strike up a conversation instantly. It’s really a game changer in language learning and it’s a great tool for practicing your Portuguese skills.

Most of you don’t need to learn how to write professionally in Portuguese. Texting would suffice and HelloTalk is a great platform to do it.


I really like that with HelloTalk you can connect with Brazilians in your city. If you live in New York City, all you have to do is search for Brazilian speakers in NYC and see who pops up (but don’t get your hopes up, there aren’t too many Brazilians on HelloTalk who are living in America. They already know English usually). Check out this article about meeting Brazilians in your city offline too.

The grammar correction feature is beneficial as well. A lot of you guys are just starting to learn Brazilian Portuguese and will make a lot of mistakes. So it’s pretty cool to have a native Portuguese speaker correct your errors for free.

But don’t forget to correct their errors in English too.

Don’t judge my English corrections.

I also like that HelloTalk is FREE for studying one language.

There is a PRO feature which gives you:

  • Unlimited Translation
  • Unlimited Transliteration
  • Unlimited Transcription (Voice to Text)
  • View Chat History
  • Customize Translation Target Language From Chat Settings
  • Increase Group Chat member limit from 30 to 50
  • Notes up to 1000 characters
  • Increase Recent Contact list limit from 30 to 50

If you download the app, love it and want to try the PRO feature, the good people at HelloTalk have given Rio In A Week readers 3 months of Pro feature benefits by sending them the code “rioinaweek2016”.

So, if you are really serious about learning Brazilian Portuguese this year, you might want to take advantage of the offer. The code expires 02/14/2016.

What I Don’t Like About HelloTalk

A lot of you will download the app after this review and have trouble finding consistent language partners like I did during my first time using the app.

That’s my only complaint with the HelloTalk app. But it can easily be overcome if you just give the app time. I have problems with patience that I’m working on this new year, so hopefully you are more patient than me.

The best strategy to finding Brazilian partners on HelloTalk is to add the maximum number of language partners to your friend’s list every day.

At the time of this article, the maximum number is 20 partners a day.

If you add 20 people everyday for the 1st week, that is 140 potential people who can help you learn Brazilian Portuguese.

Some people will add you too, so you should have more than enough people to talk to after a while. I’ve actually hidden myself from search now because I have too many partners.

HelloTalk Etiquette

A lot of guys on here are interested in Brazilian women. They are very beautiful and a pleasure to get to know.

But HelloTalk is NOT a dating app. They even hint at it when you try to enlarge someone’s profile picture.

It’s just a language learning app, guys. Not a dating app.

It’s best to use tact with the app and only use it for language exchange, not for flirting.

With that said, just because it’s not a dating app doesn’t mean there won’t be mutual attraction between two users. You may be using HelloTalk to learn Brazilian Portuguese, but meet someone who you hit it off with.

If the conversation moves from HelloTalk to other apps such as Whatsapp or Kik, then the game changes. But there are women who complain about guys sending them unsolicited pictures and messages on the app, so don’t force your interest on a woman who isn’t interested in you.

Just remember that people are on it to learn a language, not to find a lover. Respect the people who add you as a friend and keep it cool.

Learn Brazilian Portuguese with HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a great phone app to learn Brazilian Portuguese or any language you are interested in. I’m glad I gave it another shot and I recommend it to anyone who really wants to learn Portuguese.

The language learning app is particularly valuable for mastering reading and writing in Brazilian Portuguese. Brazilians talk and write differently than what you learn in a Portuguese class, so it’s great to practice texting and reading how they naturally converse in writing.

So, what are you waiting for?

Learn Brazilian Portuguese today!

HelloTalk is available on the App Store (iPhone) and on Google Play (Android App).