We asked one of our students how they got into Spanish, and they told us that they started their learning via attending a Language Exchange! Check out their experience here and how attending a Language Exchange, practicing exclusively your second language, may just help you to pick it up!
Language exchanges are growing in popularity as more and more people are traveling the world and realizing the need to speak different languages. People are realizing the urgency or learning a language quickly, and so a language exchange is the perfect way to do it – it’s fun, it’s free, and you only have one option – to speak! You are a part of a new group and you need to communicate with them in some way.
In a nutshell, a language exchange is meant for one simple purpose: to meet other people that speak a language you want to learn, and who also want to learn the language that you speak. This is mutually beneficial and is the core function of a language exchange, whether it’s online or offline.
Here is my story, I started learning Spanish in high-school, for 5 years and I really could not connect 3 words together in a sentence, as the main activity we did at school was to read texts, discuss vocabulary and do grammar exercises, very trivial you would say, I have heard this over and over again.
One day I saw a language exchange event advertised in a pub in 2015, back when language exchanges were not so popular. I went to this pub, not knowing what to expect, as at the time I did not speak even basic Spanish.
Eventually this turned out to be the best Spanish language course and the best Spanish learning experience I have had so far. It was tough but it was fun! I realized I remembered quite a few words from the years of passive Spanish learning. Even though I was not very active in the Spanish part of the language exchange at first, I got to know quite a few fun people and wanted to go the next meeting, that was only the following week. I needed to make quick progress with learning Spanish so I could talk to my new friends. I listened to my favorite Spanish songs and found fun content, like Spanish speaking videos about Spanish people living in different cities. The more I listened the more I understood. In the next language exchange meeting, I was able to say 3 sentences together, express myself somehow and I felt more connected to people.
So here’s my advice:
Create a community
It is very important to create a community in a language exchange group, to feel connected with people, in order to have more motivation to learn. I made friends with a few people that I began meeting outside the group, mostly Spanish natives. This really helped me to practice a lot and feel enthusiastic to learn more!
Manage a language exchange group
As for my language exchange, I kept going and learning Spanish and English with people until one day the person organizing it gave up and I decided to take over.
I learned how important it is that one person is really devoted to the organization of language exchange.
But even if you are managing the group or not, the important thing is to stay committed to it, get to know the native and non native speakers, and enjoy the experience! This is the best way to continue learning and helping others too.
If you are interested in joining a Language Exchange group in Valencia, check out our Language Exchange every Thursday, details here.