One of the best things about living in Spain is that you have the opportunity to mix with locals and practise your Spanish with them. However, it can be difficult to strike up a conversation beyond ordering food or asking for directions, which is where intercambios come in useful. They are language exchanges in bars or cafes for you to mix with people from all over the world and practice your language skills outside the classroom. Intercambios also help you learn more about the culture as well as the language such as colloquiums and slang while enjoying a drink in a relaxed setting. Below, we have listed our 5 top tips for making the most of intercambios:
1. Don’t just chat with your friends
Remind yourself that everyone at the intercambios is there to meet new people and wants to practice so don’t be afraid to talk to strangers, you can easily bond over learning new languages and you might make some new friends!
2. Don’t just small-talk
Brits have perfected the art of small-talk over many years, and some of us love it, it fills awkward silences and gives easy prompts using simple language we know really well. However, this can get repetitive so try to branch onto other topics to expand your Spanish vocabulary.
3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Possibly, the most important tip! Speaking a foreign language to a native speaker can seem daunting, however, as a learner, you are bound to make mistakes! Instead of focusing on what you’re getting wrong, shift your focus to what you are getting right and that you are able to communicate, this way, your language skills will approve at a faster rate.
4. Make friends!
Intercambios are a great place to meet people, everyone is sociable and willing to chat with strangers, so it offers a unique opportunity to make friends with Spanish locals. If you meet someone you like, exchange numbers and meet up after the intercambio to continue practising your Spanish in a different setting.
5. Keep a translating app on hand
Sometimes you will find yourself in a sticky situation where “yo no entiendo” just isn’t enough. For these cases, use a translating app to get back on track and continue your conversation and this will help to learn new vocabulary.
We went for the last intercambio of our friends from Sevilla Intercambio to know everything about what’s going on in Café Tarifa. Watch the video below to find out more about why you should go to intercambios!