Intercambio Plus has produced handbooks to support your language exchange experience and make sure you get the most out of it. The Language Learning Companions have been produced for various languages and levels and can be accessed here.
What are they for?
An intercambio, meaning exchange in Spanish, refers to a language exchange between native speakers of different languages. The aim is to create an opportunity for people to learn more of their second language while also learning something about the other culture through conversation.
These Companions have been created to improve the exchange so that both parties can participate equally. Often in some language exchanges the conversation ends up being dominated by one language meaning one person doesn’t get as much from the experience. This was something we sought to solve!
There are handbooks for English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French. We have curated versions for both beginner and intermediate levels to make sure that the conversation is appropriate for different abilities.
How do they work?
The Companions cover topics such as Exploring Culture, Local History, Food & Drink, Transport & Travel, Language, and Working Life. Each topic includes useful and level-appropriate vocabulary and then a set of around twenty conversation prompts to work through with your language partner or group, making sure everyone has a go at answering the question.
You will be encouraged to let the conversation flow naturally instead of sticking to them in a rigid question and answer format – they are there to guide the conversation and make sure it is appropriate and include a range of interesting topics.
The vocabulary tables have been added to help you learn useful words and get into the habit of practising various tenses – this is especially encouraged at an intermediate level.
In order to keep the conversation moving forward and to provide some structure to the language exchange, your partner will tick off each of the prompts as you complete it. One prompt will equal one point. This helps you keep track of your progression and demonstrate your language level, corresponding to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It also encourages you to move through many different topics, improving your vocabulary and range along the way!
Here is an example of Culture beginner (A1-A2) and intermediate (A2-B1) Companions so you can see what kind of conversations you’ll have.
The beginner level will have prompts such as: “Have you been to any cultural attractions in the city?”
While the intermediate conversation exercises will have prompts like: “What does culture mean to you?” and “In what way do you think the culture here is different to the culture where you are from?”
Where can I try out the Companion?
The best way to find your nearest intercambio is to search on a social media site, such as Facebook or Instagram, or check our website events page. Some intercambio groups have a WhatsApp group chat that you can be added to so you can stay up to date on when and where they’re taking place. Intercambios are social occasions so try to talk to different people! If you are still unsure then check out our project’s blog at www.intercambioplus.eu to read about all the benefits and tips for attending an intercambio near you.
Where do our partners recommend?
If you’re in Seville…
Seville has many intercambios that take place every week throughout the city. Our partner 3Si recommends the following two to check out:
- Intercambio Sevilla: https://www.facebook.com/sevilla.intercambio.idiomas.language.exchange/
- Spanish Olé (language school and intercambio organiser): https://www.facebook.com/spanish.ole
If you’re in Matera…
Matera currently has one place where intercambios are held but we hope more will be encouraged through our project. Here are pages for the cultural association Link, who are currently organizing some tandem exchange activities:
If you’re in Marseille…
L’arca delle lingue is a local language school that also offers alternative ways of learning. We find their thematic courses and their regular events such as Ciné clubs in Spanish and Italian quite appealing: https://arcadellelingue.fr/
Here’s an established Meetup group in Marseille, which holds around one gathering a month. Its main focus is for locals to improve their English skills so we’re sure they’d highly appreciate having some native speakers swing by: www.meetup.com/English-Apero-Marseille-Meetup-Group/
If you’re in Brighton…
Through the links below, you can find individuals who are looking for language exchange partners, as well as popular language exchange groups in Brighton and Hove:
- www.tandem.net/partner/language-exchange-brighton www.sussexstudent.com/events/language-cafe/
- www.facebook.com/groups/271271130011127/ www.facebook.com/groups/BrightonSpanish/
If you’re in Lisbon…
Lisbon has many places where intercâmbios are held regularly. Here are a couple of groups you can check out if you’re in the city: