A Little About Me
Hi, I’m Juan. I’m a language coach and educator. I work with Brazilian business leaders motivated to upgrade their English and passionate about personal growth.
I’ve worked with founders, CEOs, bestselling authors, designers, professors, and many others. I created Flight Plan English because I’m tired of seeing Brazilian professionals waste their time at language schools, use Portuguese, and depend on grammar books.
My Unique Approach
As a business graduate and former Fortune 500 analyst, I use my business background and language coaching to make our classes fun, dynamic, and practical. Your customized learning journey is based on your needs and interests and focuses on habits, pronunciation, and social integration. This gives you the confidence to speak English fluently.
I was born in New York to two Spanish-speaking immigrants from Ecuador and Spain, so I’m a proud 1st-generation American. After 31 years in the USA, I moved abroad to São Paulo, where I became fluent in Portuguese. I did it while working two jobs and having an active social life, too. That’s why I understand the difficulties you have improving your English in Brazil with so many other priorities and so little time.
Since I had to learn the differences between Brazilian Portuguese and English to integrate myself, I also understand why you make the mistakes that you make, and I believe I’m the best person to help you deconstruct them. Why? Because I’ve done it for over 10,000 hours with more than 200 clients who are just like you.
Why aren’t you learning more?
I asked myself the same question when I was learning Portuguese in Brazil. Thanks to my Spanish, I had reached a ‘survival’ level of Portuguese very quickly. I surrounded myself with Portuguese – friends, books, TV, music, etc. – and wasn’t afraid of making mistakes, so I spoke as much as possible and my improvised portunhol started to sound more and more like português.
But as I got closer to speaking at an intermediate level, my improvements slowed down. The tactics I used to get from zero to intermediate weren’t working anymore. I still had a passion for learning and an interest in the Brazilian culture, but it wasn’t enough.
Translation started to cause more problems than it solved. A Brazilian friend would correct my pronunciation, but I couldn’t hear the difference, and they couldn’t explain it. I wanted to connect with native speakers, but the more I tried to immerse, the more embarrassing moments I experienced.
I couldn’t understand the jokes people told at the bar. Right when I finally had a comment to contribute to a group conversation, someone would speak quicker than me.
I didn’t get invited to Brazilian-only events because others would need to use English or Spanish to include me, and I was misunderstood during my daily routine at the supermarket, post office, metro stations, and restaurants. Immersion alone was not the solution.
After 2 months living with foreigners in a hostel in São Paulo, I made two big changes: I moved in with a few Brazilian friends, and I started teaching English at a language school.
Because I was a native speaker, my schedule was full, and I taught more than 25 different clients every week. They were intermediate to upper-intermediate, and many were excellent students. I started seeing similarities between my most successful students. I began to use them myself outside of class and it helped me accelerate my journey to fluency in Portuguese.
These would eventually form the foundation of the fundamentals that I use today to help my intermediate students take the next step towards fluency.
These are the keys to my flight plans
My most successful students took more classes, worked with native speakers, and tested themselves in more ways to get feedback. After living with Brazilians, I too was getting immediate feedback and correction daily. This helped me correct my mistakes before they became habits and gain confidence.
The students who made the most progress made English immersion part of their every day. English – not Portuguese. Once you’re able to communicate, it’s important to stop depending on Portuguese and only speak in English, and that’s exactly what my best students did.
As for me, because I was in Sao Paulo, Portuguese was around me all the time. I was learning everywhere at any time I wanted. At home, at work, in the supermarket, on the TV, and in social situations. This allowed me to learn by repeating and mimicking, or ‘by ear.’
Customization & Coaching
My best students made English more personal. My students took control of our curriculum and used me more as a coach. If they liked to read, they would read in English. If they were nervous about a meeting, we would role play the meeting in class. Through coaching, they learned more about learning and I led them in the process.
I too didn’t want all my learning to come from a grammar book, so I avoided language schools. I took control and customized my Portuguese curriculum. I watched Brazilian football with my housemates. I discovered restaurants with friends. I had conversations with locals. This made the language fun, which also made it easier to stay on schedule.
Urgency & Purpose
The students who made the most progress had the most urgency to learn English. They needed to give presentations, prepare for interviews, or start international work rotations.
My situation was also urgent. I was living in Brazil, where English isn’t a strong second language. I started teaching and working with Brazilians. Learning Portuguese was not an option anymore, it was a necessity. If I wanted to succeed in Sao Paulo and live the life I imagined, becoming fluent in Portuguese was key.
How Working with Me Can Make a difference
With an advanced level of English you’ll get more freedom and opportunities. Every country becomes a possible destination for your next job or trip. Every person, a possible connection. Make sure you work with a language coach that’s right for you.
Here’s what my students have to say…
“Juan’s classes make my trips more enjoyable and less stressful. I feel more confident now when I ask questions and talk to people in different countries. Juan likes to teach and is responsible with his students. I feel the progress.“
IT Analyst (retired), Itau
“I Improved my English and my confidence to lead projects and meetings with business executives in California. Juan is very smart and understands the business environment which helps students not only with their English, but also to choose the right word, expression, and content to use in their daily work life.“
HR Business Partner, Danone Waters
“Juan helped me gain confidence to speak in English. One of my focuses in class was business presentations and meetings. Now I work in a position that I have to use English in on a daily base, and I’m able to conduct a meeting and present. The class is focused on your development needs, and the reasons you want to improve your English. Moreover, Juan has a lot of energy and is very dynamic.”
Brand Manager, Colgate-Palmolive