you begin to study a language, it’s very important to rapidly put in
practice what you are learning. It doesn’t matter whether you’re
still a beginner, if you quickly begin to use the new words and
vocabulary that you’re learning you will soon feel more comfortable
with what you’re discovering in class. Although you can search for
spontaneous situations in which to speak, doing an exchange with
someone who wants to practice your language is one of the best ways
to improve your Spanish. On the face of it, it would seem as though
there would be nothing easier than sitting and talking with someone,
but there are certain things that you should have in mind to make the
best of the experience.
are various events and groups in
the city where you can meet people that want to do an exchange.
you’re a beginner, it’s better to choose places where you canhave
short and casual conversations with
a lot of different people. This will give you a sense of security and
will allow you to practice the basics many times without boring
either yourself or the person you’re talking with. For example:
you can already use the present tense well, it’s better to look
exchange websites and
organize one-on-one meetups.
It’s always difficult to talk for a long time with a stranger if it’s
in another language. Try to meet up with 3 or 4 different people
and choose the friendliest one to talk
with — or the one with whom you have the most in common.
There’s nothing wrong with treating it like an interview!
possible, try to do an exchange with someone who has a similar
language level to yours. This way, you will both have more patience
with each other and be able to better understand each other’s
important that in the first meet-up you come
to an agreementabout certain rules that are going to help you
make good use of your time.
time in each language.
If you are going to talk for an hour, make sure that it’s 30 minutes
in each language. If you are going to meet up for half an hour,
divide the time in 15 minute blocks. Many people get excited about
talking and, without realizing it, neglect the other’s time. Others
are very timid and prefer to speak less in the language that they
were hoping to practice. A pact is the best way of avoiding problems.
the language that is being spoken in
each time block. Instinctively, you are going to want to use your own
language in the moments in which you don’t know how to say something
in Spanish. But, if you do this, you won’t improve at all. Moreover,
it’s useful for your brain to understand that there are moments when
you speak your native language, and there are moments when you speak
Spanish. The brain is basically lazy, and it’s always going to prefer
to use the language which requires the least amount of effort. Don’t
let it do this! You can also have in mind the following strategies:
there are words that you don’t know, don’t use your own language.
Instead, try to explain what you wish to say with other words in
Spanish that you do know, or using gestures or drawings. This helps
you to keep thinking in the same language and it helps you to connect
words in your mind that have similar meanings. For example, if you
want to remember the word for “house”, ask: “¿como se
dice el edificio donde una persona vive?” As a result, the word
“casa” in your brain is going to remain associated with the
words for “edificio” and “vivir”, that maybr will
be used in a common conext.
>Try to resolve grammatical problems that you have by using
other grammatical structures that you do know.
For example, if you don’t know the past tense, it’s better to say “yo
como ayer” (I eat yesterday) than to say the phrase in your own
take a notebook to these language meet-ups and write
down new vocabulary and expressions that the other person
uses and which you think could be useful to you.
you’re not sure that you understand the meaning of what your language
partner said, or whether you know how to use that same phrase
correctly, it’s always better to ask.
The same is true if you don’t know whether the word you heard is for
formal or informal language use. Encourage your language partner to
do the same when it’s their turn.
the other person how much they want to be corrected. There
are people who don’t want corrections and only want the chance to
speak. Ask yourself what you prefer, too, and explain to your
language partner what types of corrections you want:
Only when they don’t understand you?
For small errors?
For grammatical errors?
to interrupt your language partner to correct them.
Instead, it’s better to note down the corrections and then to bring
them up once your language partner has finished sharing their idea.
Ask your language partner that they do the same for you. In this way,
both of you will feel more comfortable.
it’s difficult to find topics of conversations. Therefore, it’s
sometimes better not to just meet up and talk.
Go to the movie theater or to see a play. This will allow you to talk
about subjects related to what you just watched.
Go to an art exhibition. Talking about art, or the exhibition itself,
can be a good topic.
Play some type of game.
Go out to eat. There is an infinite vocabulary related to food.
Even when you meet up only to talk, try to have some topics in mind:
photos, news, books you’re reading, music that you’re listening to.
All of these topics can help to facilitate an interesting