Don’t have anyone to practice speaking Spanish with? No estés triste, ya que hoy es tu dia de suerte (Don’t be sad, because today is your lucky day): I, Cory from Spring Spanish, will show you the 5 best places to find a reliable Spanish conversation partner both online and offline, regardless of whether you live in a Spanish-speaking country or not.
I will also give you the tips and Spanish chunks you need to approach people and find someone you really connect with!
1. Aplicaciones (Apps)
Una de mis maneras favoritas de practicar un idioma (One of my favorite ways to practice a language) is to speak with native speakers. Thanks to the Internet, nowadays, it is very easy to find buddy language partners.
Las aplicaciones son perfectas para esto (Apps are perfect for this). Have you heard of Tandem.net or HelloTalk? These apps have millions of users y son muy fáciles de usar (and they’re very easy to use).
You can have video calls with people and chat with them. There is even a functionality to correct your chatting partners. These apps are perfect to do some English-Spanish language exchange: la mitad del tiempo hablas en español (half the time you speak Spanish) and the other half in English.
2. Grupos en redes sociales (Social Media Groups)
There are a lot of Facebook groups where you can find a tandem partner. You just need to type into the search bar “tandem Spanish” y unirte al grupo que más te acomode (and join whichever group you feel most comfortable with).
No seas tímido y preséntate en alguno de estos grupos (Don’t be shy and introduce yourself in one of these groups). Don’t worry! Déjame echarte una mano (Literally: let me throw you a hand; more idiomatically, let me help you out).
- ¡Hola! ¿Qué tal? Soy Cory y me gustaría practicar mi español. ¿Algún valiente? (Hi there! I’m Cory and I would like to practice my Spanish. Anyone interested?). Ofrezco inglés a cambio. (I can offer English in return.)
Did you catch that sentence “echarte una mano” (Literally: let me throw you a hand; more idiomatically, let me help you out)? In Spanish, we use this expression when we want to help someone. It means “throw you a hand” and this is how native Spanish speakers offer or ask for help.
You can also ask:
- ¿Puedes echarme una mano? (Can you help me?)
- Mi amigo ayer me echó la mano. (Yesterday, my friend helped me out.)
3. Comunidad de Spring Spanish (Spring Spanish Inner Circle)
Sé que nunca nos abandonarás, y una de las razones es que en Spring Spanish (I know you will never abandon us, and one of the reasons is that at Spring Spanish) we organize speaking groups —with Spanish students and our Spanish tutors— for all members of our Spring Spanish Inner Circle!
They take place on Zoom. We come up with conversation starters, give you some chunks to practice and then, let you practice with fellow students and native-speaking teachers. For instance:
- ¿Qué es lo que más te cuesta al estudiar español? (What’s the hardest part of studying Spanish?)
- ¿Cuál es tu comida favorita y qué lleva? Por cierto, ¡la mía es la comida mexicana! (What’s your favorite food and what are the ingredients? By the way, mine is Mexican food!)
Además de eso (On top of that), members can hang out in the community, practice their Spanish there, and get extra flashcards and resources for all of our lessons.
4. ¿Quieres algo local? Prueba Meetup (Do you want something local? Try Meetup)
Yo usé este sistema cuando vivía en Los Países Bajos (I used this system when I lived in the Netherlands). As a matter of fact, I met my ex-boyfriend in one of those groups (Aló, Pierre! Ca va?), but believe me, that’s not mandatory!
Ya, con seriedad (Enough, seriously)! Meetup has a website and an app to check the groups and to book your attendance… and the best? You can even organize your own group there!
Maybe you want to talk about La guerra de las galaxias (Star Wars) in Spanish or learn about a specific country. ¡Tú decides (You decide)!
But to give you some more ideas, you can create a tandem group where you invite Spanish speakers and English speakers. This way it will be more interesting for Spanish natives, but it could also be something else where Spanish is the language of communication like “Yoga in Spanish” if your level is a bit higher, and you don’t mind mixing Sanskrit with Spanish.
5. Más opciones: Italki, Duolingo, Couchsurfing y otras plataformas internacionales (More options: Italki, Duolingo, Couchsurfing and other international platforms)
With Italki you can find a private teacher. They have lots of teachers there, and you can choose the best time for your lessons con profesores nativos (with native teachers).
Duolingo is free, but you can also talk with some locals, and there’s a feature where natives correct the translations, and their forum is big on questions.
Other great international community platforms, such as Internations.org, have expats from different countries that meet offline and online. You can find, for instance, expats from Spanish-speaking countries in your own country there, ¿no es fantástico? (isn’t it fantastic?)
¡Oh!, y otro del que seguro has escuchado (Oh! And another one you have probably heard of): Couchsurfing, where people find others to hang out with on their travels or a “couch” to crash on. Tienen reuniones regulares y encontrarás muchas personas internacionales y multilingües allí (They have regular meetups, and you will find a lot of international and multilingual people there).