Posted on | June 19, 2011 | 6 Comments
As soon as I stepped out of the plane and into São Paulo for the first time, I was surprised how much Portuguese I could read.
This is partially helped by my knowledge in French and Spanish. But I believe the main reason is that before I came, I worked on reading a lot. I read Portuguese documents from work, a few short novels, as well as studied conversation transcriptions from BrazilPod. At the same time, I build my in-context vocabulary using LingQ and Anki.
Being able to understand what is written around me makes my São Paulo stay so much comfortable. I don’t have any difficulty reading street signs and warnings, getting around the city by Metro, and understanding restaurant menus. I can also understand TV programs and ads well with the help of words popping up on the screen. If I were to use the typical self-study method to learn the language before I came, namely, work on conversation practices and vocabulary lists, I would have to trade off my time working on reading, and I would not be able to read as much Portuguese as I can now.
The soonest I make myself comfortable living in a foreign place, the soonest I can gain the full potential of interacting with the locals. I am glad to find myself comfortably living in this city within the first week of arriving, thanks to the ability to understand the surroundings.