If you've spent any time at all looking for the perfect language learning solution to augment the learning process you have taken with regard to your language learning journey, then you will most definitely have heard of Rocket Languages one way or another.
And rightfully so - it's one of the best-known and best-recognized resources for language learning that has seen use. Not just for personal use (for everyday, garden-variety language learners like you and I), but also for corporate and academic use (your college language learning laboratory may have this class available). It's been around for a while, and for good reason: and that's because it is what it says it is - it's an excellent introduction to Brazilian Portuguese.
And such a colorful language as Portuguese requires that you know how to literally "sing" it, as it were a song - it's hard to teach the intricacies of spoken Brazilian Portuguese, but Rocket Languages nailed it on their program.
Granted, autodidactic language learning courses are never a substitute for real, immersive learning or real, face-to-face conversation with a native speaker (be it in Brazil, local Portuguese teachers, or through social networks such as busuu or italki), but they complement your language learning nicely as further reinforcement of what you've heard, learned, or spoken. Plus, they make language learning more fun by giving you a real sense of accomplishment for having completed the course.
With that in mind, let's ask the $64,000 question: is it worth taking? Let's examine the ways.
How does the Rocket Portuguese Language Program Work?
I'm glad you asked. The entire catalog of Rocket Languages programs (Portuguese included) have a clear, simple, and effective structure in which languages are taught. An interactive audio course is included that first introduces a dialogue between two native speakers, followed by an in-depth explanation of how the language is used in that conversation. It is then followed by typical language exercises and games that feature themes of grammar and vocabulary relevant to the dialogue. This is to reinforce your learning and to give you a good estimation of how well you picked up the concept being taught in the audio dialogue. Furthermore, a course discussing culture seeks to effectively "immerse" you as though you were in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, seeking to get cute with that cute Brazilian girl you met at the bar. Lastly, Rocket Languages finally released its own mobile app owing to the popularity of language learning apps on smartphones and smart devices, which can help you reinforce your learning anytime, anywhere. A great package for the price.
The beauty of Rocket Languages' Portuguese course offering is that it focuses only on what you actually need to know in a tourist situation in Brazil (or Portugal) - there are no useless conversations in the office or at the bank (conversations that you will be forgetting anyway). Instead, it has everything useful that a tourits or long-stay holidaymaker in Brazil will need, and even dedicates a section to dating in Portuguese! Talk about useful, huh? Comparing it to Rosetta Stone and Duolingo, the course material and the vocabulary on offer is more immediately useful to most language learners. Special focus is also given on pronunciation, which is of paramount importance especially in a language as complex as Portuguese, so that's a great plus. All in all, Rocket Languages is mostly killer, and less filler - every word for every situation you will encounter in Brazil will be taken up in the coursework.
The major bone I have to pick with the course is that there is but one level of Portuguese coursework available for language learners - and those seeking to further advance their Portuguese skills will find this course lacking in more complex topics. I can further add that to the relative lack of focus on reading comprehension, but then again....reading comprehension is a topic best served for people who intend to delve deeper into their Portuguese studies. Anything else is just picking on the bones.
Don't get me wrong - the Rocket Portuguese Language Program has its flaws, but don't let those take away from the excellent Portuguese course they have assembled for novice and beginner-intermediate learners. It's a great course to start with, and many people interested to learn a new language, Portuguese notwithstanding, can stand to gain a lot with this course as their first. It's the perfect introductory course that combines the attention to detail in spoken Portuguese and listening comprehension that a Pimsleur course offers, with the visuals and bells and whistles that a Duolingo or Rosetta Stone brings.