Rio & Learn FAQ
What is the typical day of study like with Rio & Learn?
Although it depends on the course and the accommodation options you’ve chosen, our students usually wake up with a greeting from their host family and have breakfast with them. Later, students go to school by public transport and then they take a coffee and speak a little Brazilian Portuguese with the other students before school starts.
After completing the classes, if they have a morning course, students will eat near the school or take lunch at the beach while practising Portuguese with other students from the school. After lunch, the students go on a RioLIVE! activity along with the other Rio & Learn students who want to come along, and are accompanied by one of our teachers. Between the group and the Portuguese teacher, they practice while enjoying the activity for free.
RioLIVE! activities vary and can range from a sightseeing tour in the city, like the Christ of Corcovado, or participating in many cultural activities; dancing in a samba class or cycling along the beach (see RioLIVE! activities here).
Later, the students take in the last rays of sun on the beach or go to drink a caipirinha while they decide where they will “sambar” at night.
How long does it can take to learn?
The speed and progress of learning depends on many factors and it is very difficult to predict. However, to learn a language in another city, there are controllable factors (that depend on you and the school you choose), along with uncontrollable factors that neither you nor the school can control.
For example, a person whose native language comes from a Latin root (examples: Spanish, French, Italian) recognises the similarity to their language and learn Portuguese much faster than students whose native language is from another family of languages.
Another uncontrollable factor is the ease that someone has to learn languages. For example, the more languages you speak, the more experience you have as a language learner. But, as mentioned, there are other controllable factors that depend on you and the school, and these are the factors which Rio & Learn work hard on to help you learn faster.
Therefore, we recommend that you follow our Livelearning method even if you struggle (at the beginning) to talk all day in Portuguese. The more opportunities you give yourself to speak, the faster you will begin to speak, however basic your language use is at first.
If you are unsure about how long you need for a course, please fill out our placement test and contact the school. A Rio & Learn staff member will advise you about the time you’ll need for your objectives.
Do I need a visa?
Find out about the visa requirements from the Brazilian authorities for people of your nationality. Students from the USA, Canada and Australia need a tourist visa to come and study at Rio & Learn. They do not require a student visa since these are for students at colleges and higher education.
The tourist visa is for 90 days. European Union students do not need a visa to come as tourists, for up to a stay of 90 days. But for Spanish nationality, there are special requirements and these require a letter of invitation, along with other special arrangements.
All visitors must have a passport valid for at least another six months following their date of arrival. For safety, we recommend you contact your appropriate authority in your country to clarify the exact detail for your entry.
Rio & Learn will help in any way possible we can. If you need a recommendation letter, or similar, we will provide this. However, please note that Rio & Learn do not arrange nor are responsible for your visa and entry into Brazil.
What qualifications do the teachers at Rio & Learn have? Why them and not other teachers?
Our teachers are all university educated or are currently completing their degree studies.
Our teachers are continually rated by our students to help improve the teachers understanding of their teaching, and so they can learn how to be successful. We select our teachers to have a high level of personal motivation, and an enthusiasm to entertain the students, and we train our teachers in our Funlearning method.
Your evaluation of the school and the teacher will be extremely valuable to us to improve our school and services, so we ask you to send an evaluation upon the completion of your course. This helps us maintain the highest quality in our teaching, and reward our teachers through professional and personal development.
Where will I live while I’m studying?
You live with Brazilian people so you’ll be practising your Portuguese all day, being part of Rio life and getting to know its culture. All of the family homes are evaluated by our students at the end of their stay. Your opinion helps us manage a pleasant and fulfilling stay at the accommodation for all of our students.
How do I pay for my course?
To avoid having cash on our business premises, our courses are paid for through our website before you make your trip to Brazil. Your may pay with either credit card.
If you booking for a company, please contact us to arrange the academic option that best suits your needs, and to confirm the payment method and details.
How much do I have to pay for enrolment?
At Rio & Learn we believe that our students should only pay for what they recieve, so we do not charged for any extra payment for enrolment or administration fees. The only extra cost to the course is for the books needed during the course, and these are for the students to take for future practice and reference after the course.
How much time before a course starts do I have to register?
You should sign up for a course at least eight days before the course you want to take starts. If you register less than eight days in advance, we have to organise your arrival quickly, which incurs an extra cost of 500 reais.
Also remember that in the months of December, January and February the accommodation in Rio de Janeiro is very expensive, so the sooner you book, the better. During this period, finding the accommodation of your choice may be difficult even when booking your course more than seven days in advance.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes. In fact, we can not accept any students without ensuring that you have medical and travel insurance valid for the duration of stay in Brazil. The insurance must also include evacuation, in the case of any serious medical problems.
When should I arrive?
It is better to arrive on Sunday and begin classes the next day. This allows you to leave your accommodation on your last Sunday without paying an extra day of accommodation.
Is there an age limit to study in Rio & Learn?
In Rio & Learn will accept students who have legal adulthood, which in Brazil is more than 18 years.
What if one day of my course is on a national holiday?
Please note that the school opening times are coordinated with the public holidays in Rio de Janeiro, not your country.
The hours missed due to a public holiday are recuperated across the remaining days of that week, at the discretion of Rio & Learn for group classes, and for private classes on agreement with the student’s schedule.
On a Rio & Learn’s Basic weekly courses, if a week has two or more holidays, we can only recover one of the missed days. No refunds can be included for the other day.
For other types of courses, we try to adjust the hours if this can be arranged with the client. For Rio & Immersion and LiveBusiness! courses, classes can be made up on a Saturday or even on a public holiday in a week with more than one day of holiday.
How can Rio & Learn help me learn faster?
You can learn faster by striving to follow Rio & Learn’s Funlearning and Livelearning methods. Try to speak Portuguese at every opportunity, while having fun and enjoying our classes, taking part in our activities and exploring what Rio de Janeiro and Brazil have to offer. Go out, discover, enjoy, live and interact.
I want to learn Portuguese but I don’t have much time to be in Brazil. What can I do?
For students without much time or for business executives who need to learn Portuguese in record time, our immersion programs offer 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.
Both programs are 8 hours per day, and a teacher accompanies you to learn and practice in different environments.
Why do I have to pay more if I sign up from December to February?
Rio de Janeiro is a major tourist destination during the summer months in the southern hemisphere.
From December to March, Brazilian and overseas tourism increases dramatically, which makes the accommodation and rentals rise by as much as 40% above the usual price.
These prices vary each year and depend on how many people come each year.
We recommend you book your course for these months well in advance, and we recommend that you make sure you also have a good accommodation; the price rise for the season also means that even poor accommodation can become pricey.
Can we study as a group?
Rio & Learn can arrange a special course tailor-made for your group.
You can come with your friends to go kite surfing, surfing, or climbing; to samba in groups and dance in the best samba schools … or just be with your friends on vacation. Whatever you wish to do. Rio & Learn’s courses help you organize everything, from your Portuguese language course to the activities you’d love to do to in Rio.
Please contact us to arrange your course and your exciting language and cultural immersion holiday.
Am I going to understand anyone when I get to school? I only speak my language?
The Rio & Learn team speak many languages and are happy to communicate in your language. Of course, it’s impossible for us to know all languages (we speak English), but do not worry anyway, with our Funlearning and Livelearning methods, you soon won’t need to rely on your own language.
We receive a lot of students with little notions of Portuguese and they have no problems in quickly exchanging basic information as they chat with our staff members.
Our teachers will speak only Portuguese in class and we are used to welcoming and teaching students from around the world.
What will my accommodation be like if I stay in rooms that the school provides?
To improve your Portuguese quickly, we strongly recommend you follow our Livelearning method by staying at the network of family accommodations that Rio & Learn have developed.
You get to live with Brazilian people so you will be practising your Portuguese 24hrs per day, as well as discovering insights into Brazilian culture.
We continually assess our students’ stay and your feedback helps us improve this integral part of our quick learning programme for all of our students.
Where is my accommodation located?
Rio & Learn only offers accommodation located in the south of Rio de Janeiro, in upper-class or medium-high neighbourhoods.
These are always well connected by lots of public transport so that it is very easy to get to school
What is the difference between Beach Accommodation and Budget Accommodation?
The Beach Accommodation is located literally a few blocks away from the beach so that you can easily walk to one of the best beaches in Rio de Janeiro.
There are other advantages too. You will be close to the school, the comfort of the rooms is usually better and most of these rooms tend to have air-conditioning.
Having said that, the Budget Accommodation is also located in good neighbourhoods (south), have good accessibility to public transport and you’ll be staying with high or upper-middle class Brazilian families in both cases.
Can I book additional days for my room?
You book your accommodation for the period that you are studying at Rio & Learn. A week is counted as seven nights and runs concurrent with the course, and if you require any extra nights, you pay the daily tariff rate for extra day(s) stay outside of the period for your course date. Please consult our price list for further details.
What is the weather like in Rio de Janeiro? What clothes should I bring?
Rio de Janeiro is a city characterized by having warm and pleasant weather throughout the year, although the temperature can experience abrupt changes during the seasons.
Feeling cold or hot can vary greatly depending on the nationality of the person. We recommend that you check the weather forecasts at specialist websites before preparing your suitcase. Always use a good (factor) sunscreen; the sun in Rio de Janeiro can be very strong!
What do I have to bring? How do people dress?
Cariocas tend to dress very casually, much more so than in other Latin American countries. The most common clothes are sandals, flip flops, shorts skirts and shirts.
How do I get around the city?
Rio de Janeiro currently has two metro lines and many bus routes. There are so many bus lines that it can get a little confusing, so it is a good idea to follow the advice of the local authorities and bus service companies.
Currently the best website in beta for the major bus lines is: http://www.vadeonibus.com.br (Portuguese only)
Our school is located near to the metro and all of our accommodation is located in areas which are well connected by public transport to the school and beaches.
Will I be able to connect to the Internet?
All of our accommodation offers Internet access for our students, although the connection speed can be very slow for home Internet. You can also connect to the Internet at the school, where you will have free wifi.
Around Rio de Janeiro, you can find wifi hotspots or Internet cafes, mostly found at Copacabana and Ipanema.
I'm a vegetarian...
Meat consumption is the norm in Brazil, so if you want to stay with one of our families then we recommend you choose the self-catering option. You can cook your own meals or eat out, as you prefer.
How do I get from the airport to my accommodation on arrival?
Following a tiring or long trip, we recommend that you purchase our service for airport pick-up to drop you at your accommodation. This saves any worry at the airport.
The driver will be waiting for your flight with a sign with your name and they will help you carry your luggage if necessary.
Galeão Aeroporto Internacional (GIG) is 20 km north of Rio de Janeiro. If you do not use our collection service, there are taxis and buses to get into Rio de Janeiro. As in most of the world’s airports, there are taxi drivers and people around the airport prepared to take advantage of tourists who do not know the city. Be careful with your belongings and prepare your money for the taxi or bus.
Traditionally, taxi drivers are not tipped, but people who help with luggage in hotels or airports are normally tipped about one real or two per bag.
What happens when I get to my accommodation and they do not speak my language?
Not to worry at all. This may seem a little difficult, but our families are aware of this and will treat you kindly.
Brazilians are friendly and open people. Bring your Portuguese translation dictionary if necessary, and see how many original ways you can quickly find to communicate and learn Portuguese!
What is the nightlife like in Rio de Janeiro?
Rio de Janeiro is a city with a fantastic nightlife. You can choose from a variety of options, such as rodas de samba, forró dance, disco, try out different Samba schools, eat in restaurants serving different food, cinema, theatres, live music concerts, and all forms of Brazilian popular music. On hot nights, a cold beer on terrace is always welcome. At the weekend, many Cariocas go to bed at six in the morning after a night of music and dancing!
Can I speak my language?
To learn Portuguese quickly really depends on how much you practice the language. Our Livelearning method is based on an immersion into the country’s culture and with high levels of contact with the Portuguese. We advised you to avoid speaking in your own language. The more you use Portuguese, the quicker you will learn and feel more comfortable. We always advise our students to try to speak at launch even if it’s not perfect Portuguese. At first, it is quite hard to talk when few people understand, but the more you try to speak in Portuguese the quicker you pick up the language.
To avoid any discouragement, all of our courses and activities are also based on our Funlearning method. Our teachers will use activities in which students learn through enjoyment, without hours of heavy study or repetitive writing exercises. Our teachers use Funlearning for faster and better communicative skills, and they always speak to you in Portuguese. We also recommend that you speak Portuguese in your daily activities with other students at the school, and with your family if you live in a school accommodation following the Livelearning method.
How can we get more information about Portuguese courses offered at Rio & Learn? How can we book?
Simple. Contact us through our video chat or contact us by email. Tell us what you would like, and we will help you choose the course and any special aspects that you require
Do Rio & Learn offer quick immersion courses for new professionals relocating to Brazil?
Yes, we have specially designed courses. Our immersion course for professionals, LiveBusiness!, teaches you to quickly acquire vocabulary related to the business world, the company you work in and industry/professional sector.
We also have more flexible options if you need to incorporate a new executive quickly, combining learning Portuguese at the same time.
In addition, Learn a-la-Carte is an in-company service where our teacher will come to the company at the times chosen by you. The aim is to be flexible for the student’s professional needs.
Can I hire services such as Portuguese translations at Rio & Learn?
Yes, no problem. Rio & Learn will help you with any service related to your Portuguese language needs.
We have several overseas professionals who need to improve their Portuguese. Can you help us?
Of course, Rio & Learn can provide individual or group courses in your company to help their managers, or new executives from abroad and to integrate them as quickly as possible. Contact us to discuss the best options.