Q&A with Luiz Otávio from BravaTravel

"To know new places and different cultures always makes you richer." --Luiz Otávio, BravaTravel co-Founder

BravaTravel combines language learning, volunteer work, and cultural excursion to create an unforgettable, immersive travel experience in the lesser-known part of Brazil.

paddle board

Tell us about the experience of your adult learners over the age of 30.

As a Portuguese teacher I haven't noticed a difference in SLA (Second Language Acquisition) among students from 18 to 50 years old. SLA (Second Language Acquisition) is related to the interest and investment of the person who is studying. Obviously after 50 years old the brain is not as well prepared to retain new words as much as younger learners, but it is possible. For people older than 50 years to learn a second language more studying and time exercising the brain is important to achieve good results in language acquisition.

What is a favorite activity of students at Brava Travel?

Students have shown that they like to study following a Portuguese Book which has translation to English in some exercises, instructions, and explanations. They also like to go to supermarkets and cafeterias to practice speaking what they have learned in Portuguese. In these visits they can ask for things they want to eat and it's a great opportunity to learn new names of food. These outings make it so when they are alone they can express themselves individually.


Another activity that students really like is to learn about the native nature and go trekking during the weekends. The city tour in Balneario Camboriu is another nice activity students like to do because it gives them the opportunity to have independence...they can go to many different places they would like to see in the city by themselves. Balneario Camboriu is a city with 120,000 inhabitants, which is what makes the city so easy to navigate alone during the day.

What makes the culture in Santa Catarina ideal for language travel immersion?

Santa Catarina is located in the southern part of Brasil. This area was colonized by European immigrants, so most of the students are surprised in seeing people speak German in many cities in Santa Catarina. Santa Catarina offers magnificent coastal areas and as well a nice countryside with mountains and waterfalls.

Where do most of your students come from?

For the most part students come from Europe.


In what ways do your programs encourage active engagement and interaction inside and outside the classroom?

The classroom is always engaging because it is the place we come together each day. However, our welcoming program offers different activities like "caipirinha night".
Students learn how to prepare caipirinha, which is a typical brasilian cocktail. We also offer a "barbecue night" opportunity to show students our typical cuisine. In regards to art we have mosaic classes as well that promote outside of the classroom learning.

What is something about Santa Catarina that people might now know?

Santa Catarina boasts the island of Florianopolis, which is also the capital. It is a magnificent coastal area with marvelous beaches that are always a good option to visit no matter the season.  Another place is Blumenau in Santa Catarina, which is a typical Brasilian/German city because of its immigrants that came from Germany during the eighties and nineties.


What is your favorite word or phrase in Portuguese?

"Conhecer lugares e culturas diferentes é sempre enriquecedor.” The translation to English is: "To know new places and different cultures always makes you richer."

What makes Brava Travel stand out from other language schools?

Our Language School cares about the students that are coming as soon as they land in the Brasilian airport. We offer them opportunities to live in brasilian households and have a close relationship with our students, showing them everything our region can offer: mountains, beaches, restaurants, typical foods and beverages, etc.


Tell us about the experience of students who choose to stay with a host family.

I received a letter that one of our students had written to us that shows exactly how she felt here in Santa Catarina. From the letter, she said: “...Here in Balneario Camboriu I could move freely, did not have to be afraid of anything or have to pay attention to special safety precautions, and still had all of the opportunities and great experiences...I have gained many new experiences, self-employment (which increased my self-confidence), and new knowledge all on this trip...I think that one is in good hands here as a newcomer who is traveling for the first time to Brazil...”

Finally, how has travel and/or language learning impacted YOUR life?

As a teacher I expect to receive new students and show them how Brasilian culture is like in the southern part of the country, where Santa Catarina is located, as opposed to the northern part (like Rio de Janeiro). Whoever comes to Brazil once, always wants to come back.
This is our slogan: “Once knowing Brazil, always back to Brazil.”

If interested in booking a trip to Santa Catarina, Brazil with BravaTravel, visit their listing on languatravel.com.

For more specific details on the program, email sheila@languatravel.com to find out more.