Subscribe to SmallPlanet

We Need Your Help

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report

Sao Paulo

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Portuguese is a MUST. Even non-working spouses will need to have at least beginner-level knowledge. English is rarely spoken by apartment managers, taxis or store and restaurant staff. - Nov 1, 2017
It's helpful to know Portuguese since most Brazilians don't speak English. But even if you don't know the language Brazilians are very friendly and very patient and like foreigners. You can fumble your way through anything. - Apr 17, 2017
Needed. Vast majority of Paulistas do not speak English. - Apr 11, 2017
Lots. It is difficult to live if you don't know some Portuguese. - Jan 15, 2017
You can "get-by" with English in tourist areas. You need Portuguese to indulge in the conversation and culture. - Jan 6, 2017
Very few people in Sao Paulo speak English. You need basic Portuguese to get around. - Aug 5, 2015
A LOT. No one speaks English. - Aug 2, 2013
You really need to know Portuguese to get around day to day in a pleasant manner. Yes, you can go shopping for groceries and just nod your head if needed, but that's about it. I took a short online course before arriving (I would recommend more if you have the time) and hired a private tutor when we got to Brazil. I would go out everyday and just force myself to use new words. You have to know at least a few simple phrases to communicate your needs. Only some professionals know English. I delivered our baby at Albert Einstein and was grateful for the Portuguese I did know to communicate with the nurses---and even some doctors. - Dec 13, 2012
You need to speak at least a basic level of Portuguese to get around. Not too many people speak English. - Jan 25, 2012
Helps a lot--definitely learn this as it will make your stay so much better - Jan 17, 2012
Important. Store employees and most cafe employees do not know English. - Jan 3, 2012
A lot. Sao Paulo isn't as bad as Rio (where despite its ubertourist status, it seems practically no one speaks English), and usually people speak something. But definitely to live here you want to know more than good morning and thank you. - Oct 26, 2008
Lots. Spanish helps, but you'll need to know Portuguese to have meaningful communication with people. - Aug 14, 2008