With learning Portuguese I feel you need to do what works for you but actual classes where you meet a teacher and other students are always good. For me the beginners class had already started as runs Sept-June in a local school so I am doing an online course which suits me well until Sept. There are many courses advertised online. Some cost others are free. Just go with what you feel best suits your needs and try to practice with others when out and about. The Portuguese do appreciate you trying even if you are bad! Don’t let others dictate which course you should learn. You know yourself best and can decide what’s right for you.
I have learnt some handy phrases already but I do wonder how often I will use the following learnt phrases: My boyfriend works in an office, Does your boyfriend have a job?, I do not like bananas, This is my friend from Brazil!!!!!
Before I came to Portugal I assumed that most elderly Portuguese people in my village would not speak English. I assumed that the younger generation and staff working in official offices like the finance offices, banks, post offices, waiters/waitresses etc. would speak good English. This is not the case. It’s really random. When you ask Falas Ingles? They either say ‘A little’ or ‘No’. Some who say they can speak a little are actually very good e.g. staff in post office speak excellent English but staff in IMT, finance office, doctors surgery, bank, opticians etc. speak little to no English yet the check out lady in Lidl has excellent English. I just thought that if you worked in an official office like the council you are likely to meet English speaking people so it would be beneficial. Be aware of this and prepare yourself to learn a few phrases or at least have Google translate so you can communicate effectively.
My favourite phrase at present is: Falais inglês? (Do you speak English?), Eu sei um pouco de Português (I know a bit of Portuguese) and Eu estou aprendendo português (I am learning Portuguese). Their response is usually ‘A little’ followed by Eu não estou aprendendo inglês (I am not learning English). Quite funny!
Update 24th April 2020
Our language skills have been affected by the lock down and not being able to visit local cafes and learn with the locals. I am still using the online learning every day and my flash cards arrived today in the post. I am not so good at learning all the connecting works to link a sentence so I have a bright idea to write the word in Portuguese then how it’s sounded in Portuguese below (phonetically) then the English translation on the back. This way I can practise words but also make up sentences and turn them over to check if I have it right. I am trying so hard but my memory is pants so I am hoping the flash cards will help. I’m taking my daughters approach to studying, she loves a flash card and a high lighting pen! I only have a black sharpie pen so no pretty rainbow colours for me. Saying that we are not short of a rainbow or two here in Portugal after all this rain, I can just look out of the window. If only there was a pot of gold at the end!