Have you thought about a swap to improve your Spanish? No I am not suggesting you throw your car keys in the middle of your Spanish neighbour’s lounge and exchange your Janet for a Maria. What I am suggesting is find some Spanish people on your urbanisation and arrange a language exchange.
Who wants to swap with me?
From my own experience, it seems that for every one British person who wants to learn Spanish, there are at least ten Spanish people who want to learn English. Of course, we have a need to learn Spanish because will live in Spain and although not necessary, knowing the language does make life easier.
On the other hand, most of the Spanish people who want to learn English need it for a specific purpose. It could be that they are students and learning English is part of their studies, they need it for work purposes or they have children and they want to be able to help them with their English homework. As need tends to motivate the learning of a language they will be mostly younger people as older age groups have less necessity.
How do I find someone?
Firstly, don’t be shy and ask around. Perhaps, you could make a flyer and post it under the doors of all the Spanish people living on your urbanisation. As language lessons and courses are expensive, people will jump at the chance to have ‘free’ Spanish lessons in exchange for teaching you. Organise a small party with other like minded British who would like to exchange and invite your Spanish neighbours. You might find people naturally pair off.
Where can we meet?
Anywhere! In each others homes or somewhere neutral like a local bar. Have a couple of drinks and feel your fluency improve!
What do I do, do I need to prepare?
You might find that your levels are different so you will have to plan to suit each other accordingly. Depending on their level, start off with something general like a newspaper article to discuss and ask them to do the same for you in Spanish. Check out the beeb’s site http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/index.shtml
The possibilities are endless. You can swap magazines, books, DVDs, music CDs. Just use your imagination. Surf the net for EFL resources and play games such as scrabble and hangman. Make it fun as you will be less inhibited and learn more freely.
I can’t recommend this method of language learning enough. It’s free and it’s a form of socialising with ‘real’ Spanish people, which unfortunately most British people living on the coasts don’t get the opportunity to do. On the urbanisation where I live, in Manilva, it is really starting to take off with one lady doing up to four swaps per week!