You have probably heard it time and time again — immersion is the key. At risk of sounding cliché, that’s completely true. But what is immersion? What do you need to fully immerse yourself in a language? What is the best way to learn Portuguese? And why is immersion important again?
Picture this: a French professor in the 1880s, François Gouin, decides to learn German. For that, Gouin moves to Hamburg. The first thing he does is shut himself in his bedroom and study. And after ten days, he goes to attend a university class. Do you think he could understand the lesson? Not at all!
Yet Gouin tried doing that again and again — shutting himself in his study and then going out —for a whole year. And he returned to France still unable to speak German. What happened? What’s wrong with poor Gouin?
Gouin made a rookie mistake — he didn’t take risks, he didn’t practice in real time, with real people in real life. No textbook on Earth will explain to you all the intricacies of speaking a language. No amount of memorizing, reading, and writing will make you fluent. It is not enough to sit down and study!
The best way to learn Portuguese is to give into the urge to be a part of the culture and talk to the people. It’s to watch what they watch; listen to what they listen to, and learn to talk like they talk. And this gets us to our second question: how?