With over 200 million speakers, Portuguese is the seventh most widely spoken native language in the world.
That’s more native speakers than German and French combined.
And yet, finding Portuguese courses to take isn’t always um passeio no parque (a walk in the park).
Take those first (metaphorical) steps down the path to fluency!
Here’s all you need to know to get the most out of your online Portuguese course and find the right course for you, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced learner.
Why Take an Online Portuguese Course?
Everyone, no matter their level, can benefit from taking a Portuguese course online! Here’s why:
- They’re convenient. Since you can use them whenever, wherever, you’ll have no excuses for skipping your coursework.
- They can help target your weakest skills. Many online courses allow you continued access to lessons, so you can put extra effort into improving your weakest skills even after the course is over.
- They’re appropriate for any level of Portuguese learner. Since courses are available for beginners through advanced students, you can find something that’ll help you no matter how far along you are in your Portuguese education.
- They can be used alone or with other resources. Courses are designed to give you all the learning material you need, so you can definitely use them with no other resources.
However, they also combine nicely with additional learning tools, so you can use apps, books, videos or other materials to round out your education.
- They’re more widely available than in-person courses. While there are plenty of schools that teach Spanish, French and German, Portuguese courses much harder to come by. Online courses provide the opportunity to learn Portuguese even if you’re far away from in-person learning opportunities.
How to Use Online Portuguese Courses to Further Your Learning
Pick the right course for you.
Selecting the right course is important. After all, if it’s too hard, you might struggle and quit. If it’s too easy, though, you’ll waste valuable time that would be better spent on some more challenging material.
To find the right course, look carefully at the syllabus and course description. This will help you see if the material is at an appropriate level for you. Advanced learners looking for an online Portuguese course, for instance, won’t get much out of a course meant for absolute beginners (unless you’re looking to review the basics).
Additionally, if the course offers a language assessment, do it. Assessments can help you pinpoint your level so you can choose an appropriate course option.
Consider what features the course offers.
Each course is unique, so when selecting a course, it’s important to pay attention to what features it offers.
For instance, some courses offer videos, audio and text-based lessons or activities. Other courses may offer graded assignments.
Which features are most advantageous will vary based on your needs and goals.
If you’re looking to practice your listening or speaking skills, for instance, you should avoid exclusively text-based courses. If you want to expand your vocabulary, you might look for courses with more vocabulary-building activities.
Mix and match online courses.
Since each course has unique features and a different take on the Portuguese language, consider mixing and matching courses for a well-rounded education.
Using several courses simultaneously is particularly advantageous. Not only will this help you see the language from different perspectives, it’ll also provide you with a diversified and unbeatable Portuguese learning arsenal.
By trying different things, you might also find that some courses help you more than others, so you’ll know to put more time into them.
Use a course daily.
Even if it’s just for a few minutes, using a course daily will keep you in the habit of learning Portuguese and prevent you from backsliding.
If you go too long without studying, you might forget some vocabulary, have to think longer to conjugate verbs and just feel generally impaired.
Once you’ve already put in the study time, it’s worth dedicating a little time every day to your studies, to keep your Portuguese skills from slipping.
Use all the course’s features.
If the course offers multiple features, try them all.
It can be tempting to get in the habit of using just one feature, like practice quizzes. After all, when you find something you like, you want to stick with it.
However, if you don’t use all of the course’s features, you won’t be getting the maximum education out of the course.
And since many courses offer an array of features to help you develop well-balanced Portuguese skills, focusing on only one feature could lead to imbalanced skills.
From Beginner to Advanced: 12 Online Portuguese Courses for Any Learning Goal
Innovative Portuguese Courses
Innovative courses offer a new approach to learning Portuguese. While they remain information-dense and highly educational, they offer engaging (and often fun) methods for learning.
You’ll never be happier to get some Cs in your language class: that is, C for “convenient” and “comprehensive”!
And that’s exactly what you’ll be getting with Living Language’s Portuguese course.
The lessons here teach grammar, vocabulary and culture, while audio by native speakers helps you nail down your pronunciation. Plus, if you need a fun break from conventional studying, games and flashcards help reinforce your learning.
Living Language even offers courses for travel and business, giving you a more specific, focused education.
If you prefer your Portuguese course with a side of fun, try FluentU!
FluentU provides authentic, real-world videos, like news, movie trailers, music videos and more, and turns them into innovative learning tools.
Each video is captioned and the captions are annotated. This way, you have easy access to supportive learning materials, like word definitions, example sentences and associated images. Additionally, you can click any word to see how it’s used in other videos.
If that’s not enough Portuguese learning mojo for you, FluentU also offers a fun mode that fuses videos, images and example sentences into flashcards and exercises, giving you a unique and engaging in-context learning experience.
Plus, FluentU is flexible and personalized: You choose what you learn and at what pace. The program even takes your learning history into consideration and selects questions for you based on what you already know.
Videos are also conveniently organized by difficulty level, so you won’t waste any time looking for content that’s right for you—an awesome feature, since we know how hard it can be to find advanced Portuguese courses online!
A Portuguese program is in the works, making this a definite must-watch for anyone who loves learning with videos, flashcards, authentic material and more!
Whether you use it on your computer or favorite mobile device, MosaLingua’s Portuguese course can help you learn Brazilian Portuguese.
This colorful course incorporates vocabulary flashcards, audio pronunciations, grammar lessons, dialogues, an organized vocabulary list and more.
One of MosaLingua’s main focuses is teaching you the most useful Portuguese words. And if you struggle with a word, you’ll see it again to help you learn it better.
MosaLingua even offers a hands-free option and offline content, so it’s easy to use even when you’re on the go. Plus, each lesson takes only 10 minutes and is pausable—perfect for busy learners.
Fun and learning mix well, don’t you think?
That’s the idea behind Memrise. Audio and video from native speakers will help you learn more Portuguese. You can even record your pronunciation and compare it directly to that of a native speaker.
When you get tired of studying, Memrise also offers learning games to help reinforce your skills.
Plus, if by some strange chance you manage to plow through all of Memrise’s content, you can find courses through the Memrise community. Some of these cover more specific topics, like Portuguese colloquialisms, the conditional tense and tricky present tense conjugations.
These courses are a terrific way to focus on any weak points you have. If you have material that you want to study in more depth, you might even craft your own course for easy practice!
User-made courses are currently not displayed on the app, but if you add a course on the website then you’ll have access to it on the mobile version, as well.
So visit the website to stock up on courses, then learn on the go with the app!
Free Portuguese Courses
Whether you’re new to learning Portuguese or just want to improve your skills, free courses can be just the tool you’re looking for.
For beginning students, free courses provide an excellent way to test whether you’re truly interested in learning the language.
For more advanced students, these online Portuguese courses can augment your standard learning techniques.
Here are some free courses you can access right now!
Udemy is an online resource that allows independent instructors to upload their own courses. There are over 65,000 courses available for free or very affordable prices, provided by experts and curated for learners.
Once you get access to a course, you can study it at your own pace in whatever way or speed works best for you.
While there are some Udemy Portuguese courses that charge a fee, there are also a number of terrific free options. Here are three to get you started:
- Brazilian Portuguese—Making Social Contact is a half-hour starter course for absolute beginners to the language who want to dive right into conversations. It’ll teach you the basic phrases and words you need to start a conversation with confidence.
- 3 Minute Portuguese—Free Taster Course is just a sample of a larger course. But with nearly one hour of material, it’s a pretty nice free sample.
Each lesson is around three minutes (they actually range from under two minutes to nearly five minutes). It’s intended for complete beginners, so it’s a free and easy way to test to see if you’d like to learn more Portuguese.
The more advanced and complete Portuguese courses generally come at a fee (though usually an affordable one) and you can try a small sample of most courses before you commit.
Do note that Udemy prices are subject to change, so some courses that are now free may charge in the future. Similarly (and more excitingly), some courses that currently charge could be offered for free at some point and/or new free courses may be added. So check in once in a while to see what’s available for you!
Live Lingua offers a nice selection of free Portuguese courses.
These courses were designed by the Defense Language Institute and the Foreign Service Institute and are in the public domain (and therefore, are free to use).
The lessons cater to a variety different levels and learning needs, including beginner, intermediate and advanced European and Brazilian Portuguese content.
One program has eight different volumes for a comprehensive learning experience. Another course focuses on teaching Portuguese to learners who already know Spanish, which is a great way to build on what you already know.
Courses include text-based lessons, written exercises and, sometimes, audio.
Duolingo is one of the most well-known free learning options on the market, so it should come as no surprise that its Portuguese course is a popular option.
The program breaks the course down into bite-sized, five-minute lessons, so it’s easy to fit your Portuguese learning into your daily schedule. Of course, if you want to engage in longer study sessions each day, you can do that, too.
Skills are broken down into different categories.
Most of your learning time will be spent taking quizzes that help you learn vocabulary and grammar while testing your understanding. Some subject categories also offer brief written lessons to help you understand Portuguese grammar and pronunciation rules in more depth.
Learning Portuguese may not be a language course in the traditional sense, but it still packs as much of a learning wallop as more conventional courses.
This resource provides beginner-level instruction in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and conversation.
Explanations are clear, and examples are abundant. Plus, words and sounds include both a written pronunciation guide along with audio pronunciation, making it easy to study even if you aren’t able to play the audio.
All in all, it’s an excellent starter course for anyone looking to learn Portuguese.
Ever wish you could take a free course from one of the best universities in the country? You can!
Okay, there are some caveats. You won’t get credit and you won’t be graded.
But you’ll have access to tons of great learning materials!
MIT Open Courseware allows users to take a selection of MIT courses for free. Thankfully, these courses include a number of Portuguese options.
- For beginners, Portuguese I is a great introduction to the language.
- Portuguese II is great for intermediate students who have already studied Portuguese a bit (and/or taken Portuguese I).
- For more advanced students, Portuguese Advanced Conversation and Composition might be just the course you need to take your skills to the next level.
- If you’ve already studied Spanish and are looking for a crash course in Portuguese, Accelerated Introductory Portuguese for Spanish Speakers might fit the bill.
Portuguese Courses for College Credit
Whether or not your university offers Portuguese, you might be able to study the language for college credit. That’s because some universities offer online Portuguese courses for credit.
To see if these credits will transfer (and if so, how), check with a transfer specialist at your school. If you’re not sure where to find one, try the admissions, advising or registration and records department.
The Ohio State University offers three levels of Portuguese classes that are 100% online.
While the course descriptions are vague (courses teach “listening, reading, speaking and writing skills in cultural contexts”), the Ohio State University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese aims to be one of the top schools in the country for Portuguese, so your classes have the backing of a well-regarded school.
UNC Online offers courses from throughout the UNC system.
In general, UNC Online offers a variety of Portuguese courses, including beginner, intermediate and advanced course options.
These selections vary by term but have included some unique offerings in the past like “Brazilian Portuguese for Spanish Speakers” and “Portuguese through Brazilian Popular Music.”
UMass Dartmouth offers four Portuguese courses online, the equivalent of two years of in-person study.
These courses cover all the main skills: reading, writing, listening and interacting. In fact, to get you the interaction you need, UMass Dartmouth encourages you to speak through video and audio recordings.
You can also chat with other students and/or the course tutor in a live chatroom. Even though you may be learning remotely doesn’t mean you have to learn alone!
Additionally, these classes are offered during the summer, so if you want to upgrade your skills quickly between terms, this is the option to do so.
Take your Portuguese to the next level: try one of these online Portuguese courses and go from beginner to advanced in no time!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Portuguese with real-world videos.