Feeling like an akward gringo trying to communicate with Brazilians?
go from beginner's hell
to communicating well
in just a few hours of instruction.
As Featured In:
Hey there, I’m Josh Plotkin.
Back in 2011 I went to Brazil for the first time. As much as I loved the place, I had a hard time being self-reliant due to my lack of Portuguese ability.
People didn’t understand me, I didn’t know the right words, and I was constantly miming and wasting a ton of time putting sentences together in my head before speaking. Other people had to do all of the talking for me. It was very frustrating.
Then one day...
I had a breakthrough in how I went about learning the language. It was a simple mindset shift that changed everything for me.
The breakthrough happened shortly after I had my first week of Jiu Jitsu classes. I came to realize that the same training mindset that world champion Jiu Jitsu fighters use to become successful could also be used for learning Portuguese. Let me explain:
You see, classes at the Jiu Jitsu academy looked something like this:
First the instructor demonstrates a move. Next you practice each part with a partner at reduced speed. After that you drill it a bunch of times to turn it into muscle memory. Only once you've gotten the hang of it do you spar and try to use what you’ve learned against several different sparring partners.
I was particularly inspired by the importance of drilling the fundamentals over and over again when it was pointed out to me how Anderson Silva (Brazilian) had recently won against Chael Sonnen (American) at UFC 117 by using a Triangle Choke submission.
Black belts use the same moves to win competitions at the highest level that they taught to us white belts. The way they got there was by perfecting their skills over time with many different sparring partners. Top fighters are always looking for opportunities to improve their skills a little more.
I realized that this approach could be applied to language learning and adapted so that any language learner could rapidly improve their abilities if they committed to regular practice of the right "moves."
My breakthrough made me a better speaker and improved my confidence. Overcoming that beginner barrier helped me progress to a level I never thought possible and, today I can fully blend into Brazilian culture, often mistaken as being from Ceará. In other words, they think I'm Brazilian, but sometimes can't tell from where.
It started with a dream of visiting my Brazil
After years of hearing my brother talk about Brazil, I finally worked up the nerve to make it a reality. Getting there was as simple as getting a visa and booking a few travel tickets. The real challenge only began once I arrived in Brazil.
From a linguistic stand point, I was completely unprepared. My level of Portuguese was… let’s just say, extreme beginner. I was constantly stuck, lost, confused trying to figure out the language. But I didn’t want it to be that way.
The logical thing to do , like many people before me had done, was to grab some books, seek out online resources and study Portuguese. I was dedicated, but it still wasn’t enough.
Hours stacked up – vocab, categories and topics, grammar, finding quality explanations in English to fill in gaps in understanding. Those early days were rough. And it didn’t stop there.
Once I was out in the real world trying to put my fresh skills to use… I ended up fumbling over the new words, confusing word order and wasting a ton of time putting sentences together in my head. I thought I’d never get it right. But then I realized…
What the books and online guides taught me wasn't what people actually said. And what people did say in the situations I commonly found myself in was pretty much the same each time. Let me explain.
When getting food at a restaurant, snack bar, or bakery, conversations followed nearly the same sequence each time– the face behind the counter changed, but the language we used didn't.
When getting on a bus or hailing down a taxi… we used the same language, just different locations.
Meeting people for the first time… it’s always the same series of questions – Why are you here? What do you do? Etc. I'm the same person each time, so my responses would be very similar as well.
Deciding To Switch Up My Approach To Learning Portuguese
Using my jiu jitsu breakthrough, I stopped studying the books and started to see the language as a series of moves that I had to master. I focused on less in order to get more results. And guess what happened?
It wasn’t long before I was dominating these frequent and common interactions. I still made mistakes, of course, as soon as the conversation lead to untrained dialogues. But it didn’t matter…
The little successes were already boosting my confidence, and it felt unbelievable. So I kept going.
My increased confidence boosted my motivation. I kept building on that foundation. Before long, I was getting warm compliments about my great Portuguese, gracious support about my commitment to their language, and disbelief when I told them how long I’d been learning. Which gave me more motivation.
Eventually, these comments turned into disbelief when I told people I wasn’t Brazilian. Can you believe it?
The guy who showed up to Brazil with a handful of words was now mistakenly assumed to be a native speaker! So I did what anyone who makes a breakthrough like this should do: I decided to share it with as many people as possible.
My success with Portuguese led me to help more and more gringos – which led to me founding BrazilianGringo.com so that I could help a larger group of people at scale.
I'd often meet other gringos who were struggling with Portuguese in Brazil. I wanted to help them become a more effective speaker by focusing on less, plus show the cultural nuances I picked up – which made things way more effective than just words.
What was strange to me was that most people had no concept of this idea of focusing on these common interactions. Most language programs didn't take into account how people actually spoke to each other in Brazil. And for the gringo that did want to learn using this approach, there was no readily available system that would only give them the precise language that they needed to use.
Opening their eyes and watching newbies progress filled me with energy and joy. And then, one day a friend of mine made a comment that got me thinking.
I was telling him how much I enjoyed the process of sharing my discoveries with gringos, but I also admitted that my free time was dwindling – it was getting harder to commit to people that needed my help with my growing responsibilities as a teacher and small business founder. His response changed everything…
“Josh, you need to record these lessons and share them with the people who need them.”
Mission: Help Gringos Become Self Reliant
He was right, but I didn’t want to be another talking head in front of a whiteboard on YouTube. I swore to give more.
I decided to record myself going around Brazilian cities actually engaging in the situations and interactions that made up the foundation of my Portuguese journey. And that’s how Survival 15 was born.
Tools For Self-Reliance And Independence
Survival 15 is an all video course that walks you through – literally – the 15 most common situations I found when starting to learn Brazilian Portuguese. And what’s more…
I added all the cultural tips you'd want explained as you go through these situations that make you more effective than just a simple speaker. You’ll surprise Brazilians, and they’ll ask you, “Where did you learn that?” They just don’t expect gringos to know this stuff!
To ensure people understand you, I added videos of a native speaker breaking down the pronunciation of each syllable for the most common phrases you need – plus all of it at native speaking speed, of course.
Everything in the course is designed to ensure that you…
Reduce The Pain Of Being A Beginner
- Pressure from cramming too many words into your head that you don't need.
- Feeling awkward as you translate words in your head before speaking.
- Wasting your time thinking about grammar rules like math equations
- Buying a ton of books that you have to carry around everywhere that you go.
- Wondering why, of all the phrases in your book, the phrase you needed isn’t included
- Losing hours of your life tracking down information to figure out why something is the way it is
- Thinking about whether what you’re learning is what a Brazilians would actually say
- Repeating yourself time and time again because the book you use doesn't teach you how to pronounce correctly
I don’t want you to be one of the (far too many) people that get to Brazil and say,
“I learned all of this stuff before I came and used almost none of it.”
I went through all of it – suffering through the frustration and difficulties – and I don’t want that for you.
What I want is for you to be able to watch a quick video and feel like you are living the situation by my side, so you know exactly what to expect.
My goal is for you to know you are saying the most appropriate phrases and words for each situation you enter and have a roadmap for driving conversations forward in each one of them.
I want to eliminate the burden of carrying around or accessing material in a pinch – you should be able to check to get a quick reminder when you need and never feel like you have to carry around a phrasebook or dictionary.
Stop wasting time flipping through pages trying to find the right word, or worse… Forgetting it back in the room and feeling even more lost because you don’t have it. What a waste!
I want to empower you to eliminate the sticky situations you get in relying on Google Translate… Seriously, learn from my mistake!
I want you to experience the pride and triumph of being understood quickly. And most of all…
I want you to experience the depth and warmth that Brazil has to offer – but it's impossible if you don't know how to tap into it.
Easier Than ‘As Easy As Possible’ To Access The Material
The days of hunting down the best pocket-sized phrasebook or dictionary to carry around with you while traveling are dead.
Your smartphone is always on you, so why should you have to carry anything else?
Access all the course material straight from your phone with or without internet.
With wifi, watch all of the videos as many times as you want – practice your heart out. Imagine that it's you standing right there in front of a Brazilian using the language as you watch it on the screen.
Use the downloadable PDFs to review full video content while offline. Print them out to study at night before you go to bed.
The course also comes with downloadable MP3s you can use to listen to the course audio anywhere, anytime.
Every effort has been made to make this course accessible and useable anywhere you might need it. – It's there for you even in the heat of the moment.
As long as you’ve got your smartphone or tablet, you’ll be equipped with the material that ensures your communication success in every direction you turn.
Confident Speaking Happens Before You Know It
By stripping the learning experience down to the essentials, you'll be laser focused on learning how to interact in the situations that you will face every single day. But how long should it take to get through this material?
That depends on what you're looking to get from the course.
If you're visiting Brazil for the first time and are just unsure about how things work, you can binge watch the videos in a few hours to gain an understanding of the situations that you'll soon face. You might learn a few words by doing this, but the main focus here would be understanding the culture you're about to enter into.
If you're in Brazil and need to quickly improve your speaking abilities, you can watch several videos a day, then go out into the streets and put your newly developed abilities to good use.
If you ever get stuck on a particular aspect of conversation, find the video that covers your need and drill it until you've gotten the hang of it.
Most people complete the course in about two to three weeks, and dedicated learners get through in about a week. But no matter how long it takes, the material is available forever. Anytime you need a review, it's there!
Think of the course as your Sensei and dojo, giving you ample guidance and a supportive space to practice each manuever. As you get the hang of each one, it's time to move on to sparring – or speaking in live situations.
After a few sessions, your Sensei won't need to remind you of the steps and you'll improvising on your own – able to train with anyone, anywhere you go.
Having this kind of support at the tip of your fingertips is a big advantage. Progressing through the language will happen with greater speed than you thought possible.
What Your New Life In Brazil Will Be Like
You will feel confident to be the first one to speak instead of waiting for others to break the silence. No more having people ask you if you need help or want to order.
You'll stop worrying about whether a waiter understands you, and know that what you ordered is going to show up at the table… No more being frustrated at the wrong dish arriving at your table.
Stop getting lost on the way to where you're going. You’ll have the skills to get accurate directions from strangers. You won't be completely reliant on Google's sometimes outdated maps, nor the ever-changing bus numbering system.
You'll make new friends with ease because you'll know the right things to say to build rapport.
Brazilians will be delighted by your cultural awareness. Daily, you’ll hear questions of amazement, “Where did you learn that?”
If This Gringo Can Do It…
With almost no knowledge of Portuguese – literally, just a few words – and the desire to experience a new country, I set out for Brazil. I thought I was just going to stay for 2 weeks...
My difficulties were my compass – guiding me to what was most fundamental to gaining momentum.
I started out fumbling through pages of dictionaries and phrase books, always ending up frustrated and feeling like there was a better way out there – I was spending a ton of time studying, but I wouldn’t even use a lot of what was consuming it.
Not too long after, a pattern became as clear as water. I started keeping track of what I was using most – the questions people asked me when we first met, the back and forth with cafe attendants and servers – and I logged my responses.
This enhanced my attention to detail and helped me hone in on cultural behavior. I stayed curious and asked Brazilian friends about the behavior I witnessed.
Before long, other gringo friends wanted to know my secret – how did I speak so well and act so Brazilian? I didn’t even realize there was a secret – but there was…
I started teaching gringos and touring around with them to help develop their speaking ability and adapt – most importantly, in the middle of the situation. And that’s when stuff started happening.
My dedication to Brazilian Portuguese fluency – whether my own or of others – landed me multiple jobs teaching and training Portuguese learners.
During that time, I designed course material for foreigners learning Portuguese, created content for video lessons, lead gringos on speaking tours to help them practice in real time and get my feedback, and acted – in Portuguese – for an online video series. All of this because I started by focusing on less.
My deep interest in and connection to Brazil led me to create Brazilian Gringo, a website dedicated to helping foreigners find reliable information about Brazil, its culture, relocating there, and teaching English.
I’ve now helped thousands of people improve their Brazilian Portuguese, and even more adapt comfortably to living in and visiting this amazing country.
Nowadays when I’m out and about, people are shocked to learn I’m not native – some of them even say my Portuguese is better than many Brazilians... though I still think they are just trying to flatter me.
And it all started because of the foundation that I've built into Survival 15.
Better Outcomes, Better Experience
The benefits of investing in this course – and speaking better Portuguese – are numerous. Here are just a few ways that this course will enrich your Brazil experience.
- Sound more Brazilian so that you’re understood easier
- Be less robotic when you talk so that messages come out smoother
- Say it like a Brazilian would so that you get what you want & reduce miscommunication
- Access material anywhere, anytime so that you are never left hanging
- Get vital cultural context so that you aren’t the gringo making awkward faux pas
- Hone your pronunciation so that listeners hear you the first time
- Focus on the most common topics so that you can communicate when you need to
What others have to say
THE FEEDBACK I’VE RECEIVED FROM THE COURSE IS FANTASTIC. HERE ARE SOME COMMENTS USERS LEFT AFTER FINISHING THE COURSE:
The cultural tips were quite helpful. I took the course before going to Brazil and watching the videos made me feel like I was already there. It helped a ton.
This was a lot better than the phrasebook that I was using to study. It was really helpful in letting me know exactly what to say to sound more Brazilian. Thanks.
I was struggling to learn by myself with a book, then I found Josh’s Survival 15 course and it really saved my ass. I knew it was for me because I am a lazy guy and wanted to do the least amount of work to get the most benefit. Josh definitely delivered. I learned to do the most important things like a Brazilian, not like that formal book.
Everything you can expect
Here is a detailed breakdown of everything you will get in this course:
- Detailed explanations of cultural expectations and behaviors in specific situations
- Get up close and personal - Be by my side as I act out each situation.
- Observe me carry out the situations in Portuguese while I give simultaneous explanations in English
- Get all the translations of important words and phrases from the videos, plus all dialogues
- Pronunciation guides with a native after each lesson – text, native rate, repeated syllable by syllable
- Everything available from the convenience of your smartphone with a stable Internet connection
- PDF downloads to take every word with you on the go and have a quick reference
- 2 hours of video material broken up into 15 units and pronunciation training with a native speaker
All of this must be expensive, right? Let’s take a look.
An Unbeatable Value
If you wanted to get the VIP experience, where I personally take you through each one of the situations in real life, and drill the rest of the material with you for several hours a day over the course of a week, you'd be paying $997 for the experience.
If you hired another Portuguese for foreigners teacher, you'd be looking at paying anywhere between $40 to $100 an hour for an experienced teacher's time. To have them go through this material and drill it with you until you got it would take several hours, and several hundred or several thousand dollars depending on how long you take. You don't have to do that with this program though.
On top of that, the real-world communication with Brazilians – no robotic phrasebook stuff – comes from an immeasurable number of hours I spent speaking to Brazilians. It’s impossible to put a value on that time and effort. What’s more…
All of the cultural nuances that you get in the course that I've learned from years of experience in Brazil will keep you from making mistakes and faux pas that could end up costing you more money and headaches.
And it doesn’t end there…
the cherry on top
Because I want you to have every resource possible to achieve what I know you are capable of, the course comes in a number of different formats to support your success.
Downloadable PDFs - a complete review of each lesson to review on the go
Survival phrases - everything you would need in a pinch that isn’t part of the other lessons
Pronunciation feedback - record yourself speaking, upload the audio, and get feedback on how you sound
MP3 to listen on the go - most lessons include an MP3 download for on-the-go listening
These bonuses ensure you have ongoing aid while you embark on your Brazilian journey.
Keeping it accessible
Everything mentioned above, with the uncountable number of hours speaking with and observing Brazilians – plus the bonuses – all of this could easily be priced over $600 – not to mention my VIP service. However…
I created this course to help people thrive in Brazil, not to become a millionaire.
That’s why everything here is yours for only $47
Compare this price to what you could spend on what’s included – which doesn’t even include the prices of books or your time spent studying — and it’s more than 90% cheaper!
It comes out to about $3 per lesson, not including the bonuses.
You’d have to have a unbelieveable reason to pass on this offer… But I’ve got your back just in case.
Buy without fear of regret
If you are serious about jumping into Survival 15, rest assured our 30-day money back guarantee has got you covered.
There is nothing I want more than for you to have an amazing experience in Brazil, and includes speaking with Brazilians in Portuguese.
If for any reason, you don't feel like the Survival 15 course will get you to your goals, and you've made an honest effort at learning the material, just send me an email and let me know what is missing from your experience, and I'll give you a refund... or
Survival 15 is designed to help you reduce the amount of time you spend to reach your goal of communicating and being understood in Brazil. But at the end of the day…
Language learning requires work.
If after you’ve done the course, you feel you honestly put in the work – finished all the lessons, done the practice exercises, and gone out and practiced in real life, but still didn't see any meaningful progress – you’ll get your money back.
If it gets to the point that you've put in all possible effort and you're not seeing progress, you'd benefit from a coaching session with me to help you overcome your language learning blocks.
You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose – I’m taking all the risk to prove to you this is worth it.
So what’s stopping you?
Josh, I'm ready to speak Portuguese with confidence
Give me the Survival 15 Course that will help me dominate
the Portuguese I'll use every day in Brazil
One-time fee of just $47
Don't Get Left Out of The Conversation
Getting by without Portuguese in Brazil is possible, but it cuts you off from having an authentic experience – you only get the sanitized version that any average vacationer would have…
You understand less of what’s going on around you…
You exclude charming and exciting people from becoming your great friends because you can’t communicate with them. And worse…
You become a target. Vendors will make you pay higher prices because, as soon as you open your mouth, they’ll know that you're not from around here.
At every meal, you’ll be forced to deal with confusion over your food or drink orders. Items you didn’t order will arrive and items you did won’t… And how can you resolve it when you don’t know how to communicate?
It requires you to constantly worry about whether you’ll find some random onlooker to play guardian angel – translating for you between English and Portuguese.
But nothing compares to…
Perhaps most importantly, not meeting the love of your life. You may think it sounds silly, but it’s no secret that gringos fall in love in Brazil every day.
With such a warm and passionate people, it’s hard not to. But without language, you’re confined to hand signals, broken sentences, and translation apps.
Connection is The Goal
Brazil has a lot to offer, because the Brazilian people have a lot to offer. You can have life changing experiences in Brazil that you will remember for decades, but you have to be able to connect with the people you meet.
It’s like Nelson Mandela said, “Speak a language I understand and it goes to my head. Speak my language and it goes to my heart.”
There's no greater compliment you can pay to Brazilians than to learn their language. Be a part of the special group of gringos that take up the challenge to learn Portuguese. You can do it!