Being able to practice your speaking skills on the web is amazingly convenient and efficient, but it can be even more interesting to be able to speak your target language with a real live person. The difficulty of finding people to speak with in your own city depends on the language you are learning and the location of your city. Obviously, if you live in a small village in Iceland, it may be hard to find someone who speaks Quechua in your surroundings. On the other hand, if you live in Los Angeles and you want to learn Spanish, you probably don’t have to look very long to find people who could practice with you. In many large cities, you can find people to practice most major languages. But if you live in an isolated village, we recommend sticking with online meetings to practice your speaking skills. In this post, we will talk about a few ways you can find people to practice languages in your own city.
This site is a real gem to meet interesting people who love traveling and languages in general. The purpose of Couchsurfing is for travelers to host other people in their homes; it is a hospitality exchange website. Couchsurfing is great for traveling, but it’s also an amazing tool for finding people who speak your target language in your area. You can simply look for hosts in your own city and choose your target language as “language spoken” in the filter options. You will get the complete list of people speaking that language in your area. In large cities, you will often find hundreds of hosts speaking your target language. Again, the larger the city and the more popular the language, the more hosts will be available.
You can contact hosts and ask them if they would like to meet to practice the language with you. You may think that it’s a lot to ask, but members of this site are among the friendliest and open people you will meet. After all, when you think that Couchsurfers are willing to host people in their homes free of charge, helping someone to practice a language doesn’t seem too unreasonable. It is well-worth checking out, especially if you can hold a simple conversation, but are looking for opportunities to practice. Some people may be fluent, and others may also be learning. Couchsurfing even allows you to create discussions or events to get people together to practice the language, and some events may already exist. No matter how you choose to use it, Couchsurfing is a great tool with the coolest people.
LOCAL CLASSIFIED ADS
Sometimes it helps to think outside the box. Why not put a local classified ad or make a post on social media saying you are looking for someone who speaks your target language in your city? It doesn’t need to be a teacher with a lot of experience teaching languages. In fact, the person doesn’t need to have any experience; speaking the language very well is enough. The goal is to find someone to practice your speaking skills, not necessarily someone to teach you complex language rules. You can exchange services or agree on an hourly rate.
Be creative. You don’t have to always be seating down at a café, try to have fun with it. For example, you could choose to go play badminton once a week. You’ll learn your new language in a fun and natural way. Activities can help reduce stress; it can be anything you want it to be. If you don’t like sports, you can invite someone over to cook together, or play video games. Just make sure that the interaction happens mostly in the language you are learning and that you get to know the person before inviting them home.
This website allows you to look for meetups in your area. In large cities, there are often many conversation groups for popular languages. You can join the groups and attend the events. You will meet people that are passionate about the language, and willing to help you out. Of course, it can be a bit stressful to show up at these events when you are not too comfortable with the language, but getting out of your comfort zone is an enriching experience. These people love the language enough to be part of a group within a city that doesn’t speak it on a daily basis. They are there because they truly enjoy speaking that specific language. They will usually be happy to see that you enjoy speaking the language also, and they will be happy to help you learn. After all, their language is spreading. They are often very patient and the ambiance of these events is often very laid-back. It’s an optimal learning environment. If no groups or events exist in your area, you can create one. If others are interested, they will join the group. Kudos!
TALKING TO PEOPLE ON THE STREET.
If you are the kind of person who is comfortable talking to strangers, this could also work for you. In large multicultural cities, you may not even need to get out of your way to find people to talk to. You will often hear multiple languages on the street, in shopping malls or cafés. This is your opportunity to strike up a conversation. You’d be surprised by how much complete strangers are willing to help you out when you make them the honor of speaking their own mother tongue. Simply introduce yourself and explain that you love speaking their language. Let the conversation flow from there. If you feel a resistance, just wish them a wonderful day and go on with your routine. Most people will be glad to have a short conversation with you. It is a great way to connect with other people. Plus, it might very well be the perfect excuse to strike up a conversation with that cute stranger you would never have the courage of approaching otherwise. If the interaction goes well, you might even leave with a new Facebook contact!
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