Aina is Barcelona’s Language Exchange founder and a Spanish teacher. She’s originally from Barcelona, but she has lived in other countries such as Italy, Norway, Barbados and Saint Martin, where she learned several languages.
When she returned to Barcelona she wanted to maintain her level of English, Italian and Norwegian so she sought out language exchanges that met her needs and fit her schedule. After searching and searching, she could not find one that suited, so she decided to start her own.
THE FRIDAY LANGUAGE ENCHANGE
Was born on Friday, October 3rd, 2014, when 5 people of different nationalities met in a small bar in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona to chat in English and Spanish, and to have a few drinks. The following week a group of 20 people met together. Since then the event has continued to grow week after week. On a few occasions more than 350 people have attended! As the language exchange continued to grow it moved to larger venues, but remained faithful to frequency and values. Currently you can practice any language of which there’re native speakers, the most practiced ones are: Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Chinese and Russian.
The amazing feedback of The Friday Language Exchange and by requests of many attendees, led to the creation of a second event. Same concept and characteristics, but on a different day of the week. Thus, The Thursday Language Exchange was born on Thursday, November 10th, 2016, two years after the first language exchange organized by Aina.
A year later, on September 27, 2017, it started The Wednesday Language Exchange, and it has established itself as one of the preferred language exchanges in the city, with an average of 90 attendees every week.
ALL OF THE EVENTS ARE FREE AND TAKE PLACE WEEKLY
Due to restrictions and to follow all security measures, on November 20th, 2020, the Barcelona Language Exchange Online Bar was opened. The platform has “virtual tables” divided by languages so that each attendee can choose. By opening the physical bars and lowering remote assistance, the online bar ended up closing.
But on June 4, 2022, Mojito Night was born, a Saturday night event in which, apart from practicing languages, we enjoyed the best mojitos in Barcelona at a discount.
The Friday Language Exchange is the largest event and it’s held at the Bar inside Estación de Francia. This monumental piece of architecture was designed by Pedro Muguruza and inaugurated in 1929, for the International Exhibition.
The Thursday Language Exchange is held in a smaller venue, Space Cowboy, its atmosphere transmits good vibes as soon as you enter.
While The Wednesday Language Exchange takes place at the Verne which takes you to the underwater world imagined by Jules Verne.
THE LANGUAGE EXCHANGES ARE FUN, SOCIAL EVENTS WHERE ATTENDEES CAN ENJOY THEMSELVES, PRACTICE LANGUAGES AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS
HOW IT WORKS
Upon arrival, each person receives a sticker with their name, native language and the language they would like to practice or improve. With this now you can begin the exchange! The rules are simple: chat a bit in one language, then a bit in the other so every attendee has the opportunity to practice and speak. There is no minimum level required, the important thing is to put into practice the knowledge you already have, so you can improve. While the event is free, we would appreciate each person ordering at least one drink since the bar is allowing us to use the space.
When arriving at the language exchange, each attendee receives a sticker with his/her name, native language and language that he/she wants to improve; with this, you can start exchanging languages, and it’s as simple as speaking for a while in a language and for a while in the other one, so that all attendees can practice. It is not necessary to have a minimum level, the important thing is to put into practice the knowledge that you already have, so you can improve. The event is for free, the only thing that is requested is that everyone takes at least one drink, since the bar lends us their space.
People attending our language exchanges have different levels, from beginner to advanced, but that should not concern you, especially if you want to practice with native speakers, since they will always have the highest level 😉. The important thing in order to improve your level is to put into practice the knowledge you already have, without worrying about whether you make mistakes, which is inevitable and essential to be able to learn. So do not feel shy and come to practice your second languages with us!
At our language exchanges there are always new people as well as regular attendees, so you will NOT find that everyone already knows each other or that they have some kind of groups. But the opposite, everyone comes to share and meet new people, so it is very easy to start a conversation.
The language exchange is open to everyone and to all languages. Initially only Spanish and English were exchanged (and in fact they are still the most practiced languages), but since there are always native attendees of many other languages, all languages from which there’re native speakers can be practiced. The most practiced languages, after Spanish and English, are German, French and Italian, followed by Portuguese, Catalan, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.
The language exchange is not a lesson, nor a course, so there are no teachers, nor separation by levels. The language exchange is a social club where people go to practice their second languages with native speakers.
The language exchange is a free event, but all attendees are asked to take at least one drink, since the bar lend us their space. For this reason, in some bars the first drink must be paid at the entrance (€ 3).
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