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Where to Study the Portuguese Language in San Francisco

By Jon, published on 01/01/2018 Blog > Languages > Portuguese > Where to Learn Portuguese in San Francisco

“Love is a friendship set on fire.” – Portuguese Proverb.


Today, in the world, more than 82 million – the equivalent of the population of Germany – of people in the world are Portuguese, of whom 72 million live outside Portugal.

15 million Portuguese live in Europe, of which 17.6% – 2,650,000  live in the United States.

Want to go live in Brazil and learn Brazilian Portuguese? Fascinated by the Portuguese language? Preparing for a trip to a Portuguese-speaking country?

Where and how can you learn Portuguese in San Francisco?

For people with bodies in San Francisco but their souls in Portugal, Superprof strives to show them where to take Portuguese classes in San Francisco.


Our tutors are pretty happy

”With Superprof, I was able to find serious and motivated students who wanted to learn.  I highly recommend Superprof!”

The Portuguese-Speaking Community in San Francisco

Fun Fact: As historical beginnings go, the United Nations Charter was drafted and ratified in San Francisco in 1945.

The Brazilian diaspora population in the United States is comprised of approximately 447,000 individuals who were either born in Brazil or reported Brazilian ancestry, according to tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2010-14 ACS. Global remittance flows to Brazil have fluctuated greatly in recent decades.

From 1960 until the mid-1980s, between 1,500 and 2,300 Brazilian immigrants arrived in the United States each year. During the mid-1980s, economic crisis struck Brazil.

As a result, between 1986 and 1990 approximately 1.4 million Brazilians emigrated to other parts of the world. It was not until this time that Brazilian emigration reached significant levels.

Thus, between 1987 and 1991, an estimated 20,800 Brazilians arrived in the United States. A significant number of them, 8,133 Brazilians, arrived in 1991. The 1990 U.S. Census Bureau recorded that there are about 60,000 Brazilians living in the United States.

Most Portuguese did not settle in the US for educational, political and religious freedom. Instead many arrived seeking a higher standard of living. Portuguese immigration to the United States peaked in the early 1900’s.

During the first decade of the twentieth century, 69,149 Portuguese immigrants arrived in the US.


And the city of San Francisco maintains very close relations with Portuguese-speaking countries.

It must be said that America is Portugal’s second largest trading partner.

Take Portuguese Courses at the University

Whether you are interested in Portuguese language and culture, fascinated by history, letters and Lusitanian civilization or even wanting to work in Brazilian culture, there is one sure-fire way to learn Portuguese language and culture in San Francisco: at the university.


The city’s cable cars are the only National Historical Monument that can move.

The University of San Francisco

USF offers students several courses in Portuguese language and culture studies in San Francisco:

  • First Semester Portuguese

The first of a two-semester sequence for students with no previous Portuguese instruction in which students complete three semesters in two, this course emphasizes the development of communication skills and acquisition of basic vocabulary.

Classroom activities, daily homework, compositions, and weekly quizzes reinforce grammatical structures. The conversation component promotes student comprehension of native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese and develops student fluency.

This course includes a mandatory one-hour weekly group conversation class with a tutor for nine weeks of the semester outside of the class meeting time.

  • Second Semester Portuguese

The second semester of a two-semester sequence in Intensive Portuguese, this course places increased emphasis on reading skills and writing competence.

Using news sources, Brazilian music and film, short stories, and cultural readings, the course presents increasingly specialized vocabulary in context. Exams, compositions, and daily homework enhance student engagement with the readings.

The conversation and audio components promote student comprehension of native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese and help students build fluency and confidence.

This course includes a mandatory one-hour weekly group conversation class with a tutor for nine weeks of the semester outside of the class meeting time.

  • Third Semester Portuguese

Students continue to develop reading, speaking and writing skills, and expand their active vocabulary. The class is conducted in Portuguese, with activities designed to practice and consolidate all language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Cultural readings are assigned to expand vocabulary, stimulate discussion, and broaden students’ understanding of the Hispanic world.

  • Brazilian Literature in Translation

This course surveys works of Brazilian literature from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries. The texts, representing different genres, are viewed in their historical, cultural, social, and aesthetic contexts.

Themes include colonialism and empire, race, negritude, and slavery.

  • Dir. Reading and Research

Majors initiate and complete a significant reading and research project under the direct supervision of faculty.


Fun fact: San Francisco was part of Mexico until the Mexican-American War in 1848.

University of California at Berkley also has a great Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

They offer an abundance of opportunities to learn and achieve mastery of the languages and cultures, which include Catalan, Nahuatl, Portuguese, Romance Studies and Spanish.

Their programs are specially designed for highly motivated students with a passion for other languages, literatures and cultures, for imaginative approaches to these and for careful crossing of traditionally defined geographic, linguistic and disciplinary borders.

What to do if you already have a BA? Many master’s programs and doctorate programs can consolidate your language training.



UC Berkley’s Graduate Program

Faculty in the Spanish & Portuguese department are actively publishing and eager to bring their cutting-edge expertise and energy to the classroom. The Portuguese program is strong and expanding, while the Spanish program continues to attract new and talented professors.

To compliment courses taken within the department, graduate students are encouraged to branch out and establish working relationships with faculty members in other fields, widening the scope of our studies.

The Berkeley community and campus are famous worldwide for dynamic intellectual community and commitment to the development of solid thinkers; as a student here, you will find the same qualities in the department of Spanish and Portuguese.

In addition to invaluable support from the professors, graduate students depend on one another for continued intellectual growth and feedback. Many students participate in self-generated working groups, often funded by the Townsend Center.

Berkeley, San Francisco and the larger Bay Area offer unequaled literary and political communities with phenomenal access to cultural events, all set within the gorgeous landscape of the San Francisco Bay. 

The university option is very comprehensive as you can see … And to receive this type of education elsewhere in the United States, do not hesitate to discover where to take Portuguese classes in New York and where to take Portuguese classes in Boston!



Take Portuguese Courses in a Language School

To learn Brazilian Portuguese before a trip to Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, or to improve before a stay in Lisbon, nothing is better than a language school!


dream-come-true Mastering the Portuguese language allows you to decide to live under the hot sun of Portugal! Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true?

Here are some Portuguese language schools in San Francisco:

  • Portuguese Brazil School and Translation Services
  • IDESLI International Institute of Linguistics
  • ABC Languages


Learn Portuguese with an Association

Lack the money to pay for a native teacher in a language school?

In addition to the many linguistic and cultural associations of San Francisco and the Bay Area, those dedicated to Portuguese courses should be easy to find.

And in addition, they will certainly be cheaper than language institutes without teachers being less competent.



learning-portuguese Can you take the Portuguese SAT Subject Test after learning Portuguese?


The Sausalito Portuguese Cultural Center

The IDESST Sausalito Portuguese Cultural Center (formerly Sausalito Portuguese Hall) was established in Sausalito, California in 1888 as a focal point for Portuguese culture and traditions in Marin County.

First and foremost is the Azorean tradition of the “Festa do Espírito Santo” (Festival of the Holy Ghost), which was brought to California by early immigrants from the Azores.

Marin County has a long history of Portuguese immigration, and the Sausalito Portuguese Cultural Center remains a gathering place for descendants of those immigrants seeking to explore and re-connect with their rich Portuguese history, culture and roots.

The Sausalito Portuguese Cultural Center continues to serve its members, their families and future generations by preserving and promoting Portuguese heritage into the 21st century.


Housed in Casa de Cultura, BrasArte presents several annual activities thru its arts and culture program. These include:
Yemanja Arts Festival (February), Carnaval Ball (February/March), Sao Joao Festival (June), Camp Erê (JuneJuly), Lavagem (September).

 These activities seek to introduce and inform attendees about Brasilian culture. Each event coincides (as closely as possible) with the actual date of the festivities in Brasil.

Participants create and/or observe artistic elements that represent the history of the activity. BrasArte also offers dance/music workshops, dance/music performances and performance opportunities in parades and at festivals.

Take Private Portuguese Lessons

While the above language learning opportunities are plentiful, we still think that learning in a group does not really compare to language training on a case-by-case basis.


San Francisco was huge on the mid-century treaty circuit. In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco officially ended Japanese hostilities from World War II.

It is true that individual lessons in language school can be expensive, and the group lessons do not detect all the gaps, especially for shy learners reluctant to overly request the progression of the course from the teacher …

An alternative to this: a private course of Portuguese!

What is the advantage of having a private teacher compared to the collective course of the Portuguese language?

The first makes it possible to really ensure a regular follow-up and to support the pupil to progress without letting any gaps in the progression of the sequences intervene!

Among the providers giving private lessons in San Francisco in the Portuguese-speaking idiom, we find mainly private tutoring platforms in particular:

  • Superprof: 35 teachers of general Portuguese, Brazilian and Portuguese written expression,

And of course, the free online courses sites: Leboncoin and Facebook groups dedicated to personal services!




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