Taking Spanish classes at an institute or school is obviously a great way to learn and improve your Spanish. Spanish classes help you learn the complicated grammar (13 grammar tenses!), expand your vocabulary, and gain confidence. A problem that students often have is, how to practice what you know and continue to learn outside of the classroom. Especially when traveling, you most likely do not have an unlimited amount of time, nor is it the easiest task to meet local native speakers while staying in an international hostels, hotels or at your own short-term rental.
I recently checked out the language exchange event Mundolingo. Mundolingo is a free event that takes place multiple times a week at different bars in Buenos Aires (and in different cities around the world!). The way it works is – you go to the event location, get the country flag sticker that represents where you are from/your native language, and place other flags below your native flag in descending order of language ability. Then you grab a drink and spark up a conversation with others who are wearing the flag of the language you are interested in learning or practicing. It is a very casual and easy way to meet new people as well as practice a foreign language. Unlike other language exchange event, due to the way it is designed, it does not restrict to just English/Spanish exchange which is the most commonly available. Combinations are limitless. The event truly tailors to and attracts people of all ethnicities.
After spending the night making small talk in a foreign language, it ended up being a very productive experience! Of course, like anything else, it depends on how much effort you put into it. As a native English speaker, I found that many native Spanish speakers were excited to practice their English, therefore making it easy to fall into the habit of being lazy and speaking English. It takes some confidence and strength to change the conversation to Spanish, but being in an environment where everyone is learning makes it more comfortable. It was nice to be at an event where everyone was there for the same reason– to meet new people and practice languages. I have heard that it can turn into a little bit of a “pick up” event, but in my experience we kept the conversation polite and brief and it was always very respectful.
I have also known other foreigners, including our students from Vamos Spanish, who have gone to these events and have developed friendships with people from Buenos Aires and now have regular language exchange partners. Anyone who has spent an extended amount of time in a foreign country can tell you that meeting natives or locals is always a challenge, and through this event not only can you practice the local language but also have a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
If you want more information about our Spanish School in Buenos Aires please visit our site www.vamospanish.com