Spontaneous, intelligent conversations are one of the best ways to improve your fluency (output > input), but they are most useful when you can have these conversations with native speakers.
If you’re only speaking with other Brazilians, your conversations usually reinforce the mistakes you’re trying to correct, and it’s too easy to use Portuguese if you get stuck.
On the other hand, every conversation with a native speaker is a challenge and an opportunity to learn or repeat what they say, improving your pronunciation, vocabulary, understanding, and rhythm.
“Yes, yes… but I’m in Brazil, Juan!”
Yes, I know. And finding native speakers to have conversations with in Brazil is a common frustration with most of my students. Many of you become so frustrated that you go on ‘immersion’ trips or spend entire weekends consuming Netflix and podcasts to compensate.
But I’m writing you today to let you know that you can go to specific events that make it easy to find native English speakers to talk to – right here in Brazil!
I’ve made several friends very quickly and easily at these types of events, in Brazil and several other countries – I even met my current girlfriend thanks to a friend I made at a language exchange in Budapest!
That doesn’t mean you have to be single to go, but the point is that native speakers go to these events looking to network, practice a language, or meet locals, so it’s a great place to start if you’re afraid to get out of your comfort zone. After all, they’re your guests!
Here are 3 places you can find native speakers who want to talk to you, without leaving Brazil (plus the links to sign up):
This global ‘expat’ network hosts regular events in most big cities around the world, and São Paulo has an especially large group which is about 50% foreigners, and 50% Brazilians who have worked or lived abroad.
It’s also the most professional of the options, and with all the multinationals in the city, it’s very beneficial for networking, too. Once you sign up for free, you can search here for events in your city.
Meetup helps people organize events for like-minded people. You can find a group for almost any interest, so it’s always easy to start a conversation.
If you’re not familiar with Meetup, start with the language & culture groups, or try Clube Poliglota and English Munch, where a combination of foreigners and locals meet to practice each other’s language and meet new people.
This traveler network started out as a place to match low-budget travelers with hosts, but it’s now a travel community with regular events all around the world.
The group in São Paulo is no different, and there was always a healthy mix of short- and long-term travelers when I used to go to their weekly meetups on Tuesday nights.
This is your mission:
- Join one of the groups above
- Sign up for their next event in June
- Add it to your calendar.
The whole process should take less than 5 minutes. Do it after you close this email and let me know which you chose and why.