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Language Learning
(Reading time 2 minutes)

Sometimes at the language exchanges very deep conversation topics come out, that kind of conversations that hook you and make you admire the people with whom you speak. Other times we tell funny anecdotes that make us laugh out loud. And, on the best days, the two types of conversations are combined.

One of those days, we were talking about cultural differences. Stella, from Brazil, said that when she was very young she went to visit a pen pal in Finland. It was her first big trip and she was very nervous. Upon arriving at the destination airport, when she saw her friend, Stella jumped over her to hug her and tell her how happy she was to see her, but her friend did not react the same way. There, it is not normal to hug so euphorically in a public place, so rather, she felt very uncomfortable.

Something similar happened to me. After a long three-month vacation in Argentina, I returned to Norway, where I lived and worked. There, when I saw my manager, I went over to give him two kisses and greet him happily. The poor man couldn’t dodge my kisses because he had a wall behind him, but he became tense and straight as a stick in his failed escape attempt. At that moment I realized that I had returned to Norway and that I should behave differently.

Stella and I agree that we have different personalities depending on the language we speak, due to the culture with which we associate it. It is important to always observe before acting, especially when you are in another country, since in each place there is a different culture and what for you is a show of affection, may be the opposite in another part of the planet.

I wanted to tell you about Stella today because she, along with Stephen, from the United States, are co-organizing the virtual language exchanges on Fridays, since I am at the face-to-face events. So, now, our Online Bar works on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7pm to 9pm.

If you also want to learn about other cultures and, at the same time, improve your languages, come and practice them with natives while having a drink, just follow this link and choose the day that suits you best.

What about you? Do you have funny anecdotes related to cultural differences? Share your story with us either in the weekly Language Exchanges in bars, in the Online Language Exchanges, in the Sailing & Language Exchange on Sunday June 27, at the Brunch & Language Exchange also on June 27 or the Paella & Language Exchange on Saturday, July 3. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es

Best,
Aina
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Language Learning
(Reading time 2 minutes)

Last month I was studying Swedish in Sweden, it was an intensive 4 week B1 level course and I learned a lot. In order not to lose what I learned, I decided to practice it weekly, the problem is that since the pandemic, no Swedes have come to language exchanges, as they used to do before… So I decided to publish a post in the group of Swedes in Barcelona. I had some answers, although I only met one of them, Johan, two weeks after my return.

As I started speaking Swedish, I realized that in two weeks I had forgotten many words and had lost fluency. When I regretted not remembering some basic words and taking a long time to form sentences, Johan told me that my knowledge of grammar was much better than his wife’s, for example, who has lived there for many years.

Learning grammar doesn’t make you fluent, although it does make you speak correctly. The only way to speak a language fluently is to practice it and speak it regularly, ideally every day.

As many times it is not possible to speak it with other people, what I do is speaking it with myself; for example when I go to do the groceries, I make the list in Swedish and try to speak Swedish in my mind before speaking to the salesclerk. I also count in Swedish and I comment on everything I am doing (like “I put a package of rice and three cans of tuna in the basket” in Swedish obviously).

It may seem silly to talk to yourself, but it is very effective and it is more silly to lose a language to which you have spent many hours learning.

The more you practice a language (speaking, listening, writing and reading) the faster you start to think in that language and, by stopping translating everything in your mind before you can speak, you will be able to speak fluently.

If you also want to speak fluently in another language, come and practice it with native speakers while having a drink, just follow this link and choose the day that suits you best.

What about you? Do you feel like you are losing your languages ​​instead of improving them? Share your story with us either at the Weekly Language Exchanges in bars, at the ONLINE Language Exchanges , at the Sailing & Language Exchange on Sunday June 27th, at the Brunch & Language Exchange also on June 27th… And if you want to see your story published, you can email it to us at info@speakquick.es

Best,
Aina
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Language Learning
Today I’d like to tell you about Mark, a Canadian who regularly connects to the online language exchanges to practice Spanish and Italian. He and his wife love to travel to warm countries in winter, which is why he has studied Spanish for 5 years. He started practicing online during the pandemic, and decided to jump in and try Italian as well. Now he has been practicing Italian for a year without ever having studied it and his fluency is not far from what he has in Spanish. Do you think it is essential to study to speak a language fluently?

At the time when I lived in Italy, I met another girl from Barcelona who had arrived two years before me. She had never studied Italian and yet she was fluent. However, she made quite a few mistakes due to the influence of both Catalan and Spanish. On the contrary, I spent my first 3 months in Florence studying Italian, it was an intensive course that followed the communicative method (which implies speaking from day one). I’ve always been a bit of a “pain in the ass” when it comes to using languages, and even though she didn’t know it, I couldn’t help but mentally correct her every time she said something wrong.

Returning to Mark, in his case, he only needs to speak enough to communicate on his trips, which he can already do in both Spanish and Italian. Personally, I like to speak languages ​​perfectly, so I prefer to study them, in addition to practicing until I master them (but I guess that makes me a language geek). So, before studying a language, perhaps we should ask ourselves what is our goal when learning that language and what are our self-demands.

In any case, practice is essential. And now you have the option to practice both online and in person, at our weekly and free language exchanges.

Follow this link  to see the next gatherings.

What about you? Do you prefer to study or learn by doing? Share your story with us either at the ONLINE Language Exchanges, at the Weekly Face-to-Face Events or at the Brunch & Language Exchange, on Sunday, May 30th. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es 

Best,
Aina
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Barcelona tips, Language Learning
A few weeks ago, at the Brunch & Language Exchange, the typical cliché came out when someone said that in Barcelona only Catalan is spoken

That reminded me of an American guy who crossed the ocean for love and moved to a town in Lleida. Everyone there spoke only Catalan, so that was the language he learned. But after a few years, he and his girlfriend broke up, so he decided to move to Barcelona, ​​thinking that a big city always offers more opportunities. His surprise was when, he arrived in Barcelona, ​​he found that almost no one spoke Catalan; therefore, without speaking Spanish, his options for finding a job were limited.

When someone brings up this cliché, I usually ask: Where? In what part of Barcelona is Catalan the only spoken language?
Then, it usually turns out that it is not in the city, but in a town in Catalonia. Such thing has an explanation as simple as that if in towns people do not usually speak Spanish, it is because they do not need it for their everyday life. That does not mean that they do not understand it, simply that they do not practice it daily, therefore they are not fluent and do not feel comfortable speaking it.

I compare it to English. It is a language that we have studied for years in elementary school, high school, etc. But, generally, it is not a language that we use daily, all the films are dubbed into Spanish and we are not in the habit of using it at all. Then, when a foreigner asks us something on the street, we become paralyzed, we begin to sweat trying to remember what that teacher repeated to us for years and we feel as uncomfortable as those people who live in towns where Spanish is not used.

In short, languages ​​must be practiced regularly to be able to use them without even having to think, it does not matter if it is a language very similar to yours or completely different, the more you practice it, the more fluent you will be and the more comfortable you will feel speaking it.

If you also want to speak fluently in other languages ​​and have fun chatting with native speakers, follow this link.
If you are looking for a language teacher, you can find it on our website.

What about you? Do you practice regularly? Are you comfortable speaking in other languages? Share your story with us either at the ONLINE Language Exchanges, at the weekly face-to-face gatherings or at the Brunch & Language Exchange on Sunday, May 30th. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es 

Big hug,
Aina
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Language Learning
Some time ago, at a language exchange, I was talking with a guy from the States who said that it was not important for him to learn other languages ​​since English is becoming the universal language and wherever he went he could communicate “almost” without problems . So he only went to language exchanges to socialize.

That made me think about my own experience at language exchanges… I started running them because, after years living abroad, I wanted to keep the languages ​​I had learned and, for me, the only way is by practicing regularly. But I realized that I was not only practicing languages, but also creating new groups of friends (for myself and for many other people).

Socializing is a very good reason to participate, although there are many other reasons that would encourage anyone! Do you know that learning languages ​​has many benefits? For example, it has been shown that dementia is less likely to occur if you are bilingual. In addition, it is proven that people who speak two or more languages ​​are better at multitasking and that IQ increases with each language we learn.

So, if you still doubted whether to start participating in these kind of events, there are many more reasons to do so than you thought.

Would you like to socialize? Would you like to speak other languages ​​fluently? Would you like to increase your IQ? Follow this link!
If you are looking for a language teacher, you can find him/her on our website.

You can do all this and much more with us, either at the ONLINE Language Exchanges, or at the Brunch & Language Exchange this Sunday, April 25th.
And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es 

Best,
Aina
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Language Learning, Uncategorized
During a Brunch & Language Exchange, I sat at a table where English, Spanish and Italian were practiced; each of the 4 people had different levels. Although we all could communicate, there was a guy who hardly spoke, so every question we asked, I asked him to be the first to answer. He, in turn, declined the preference and asked someone else to respond first.

After a while, seeing that he was not really practicing the languages which ​​he came to practice, he told me: “I feel shy if you are here, because you speak all languages ​​perfectly.” I laughed and replied that I appreciated the compliment, but that nobody speaks any language perfectly. He looked at me incredulously, so I asked him, “Don’t you ever make mistakes in your native language?” Of course his answer was “yes”.

I shouldn’t say this because I do my living with the Spanish teaching, but I am the first one to make mistakes in my two native languages, Spanish and Catalan. In both of them, mainly due to the influence of the other, but sometimes also due to the influence of the other languages ​​I speak and other times because the word simply does not come to my mind. This is not something to be ashamed of, it is something totally normal and that happens to everyone.

Participating in language exchanges is the best way to lose the fear of getting out of your comfort zone and to really learn a language. Practicing a language with native speakers makes you improve your vocabulary, fluency, expressions, pronunciation… In addition, the more you practice, the easier it is to think in that language, which usually leads to fewer mistakes (although remember that we are human and without a doubt we are going to make some in any language 😉).

If you also want to speak other languages ​​fluently and to have fun chatting with native speakers, follow this link..
If you’re looking for a language teacher, you can find him/her on our website.

What about you? Do you practice regularly? Are you comfortable speaking in other languages? Share your story with us either at the ONLINE Language Exchanges, or at this Sunday’s Brunch & Language Exchange. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es 

Best,
Aina
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Language Learning
A few weeks ago, at the Online Bar, I spoke with a Spanish girl who is learning Italian. She has been attending to classes for a few months and she still doesn’t feel comfortable talking it. She asked me for how long I had studied Italian, my answer was “3 months”. She was shocked and asked how had I managed to learn it so quickly. To which I replied: “one thing is to study and a different one to learn!“.

I moved to Italy in 2006 without knowing any Italian (apart from “ciao”, “birra” and “grazie”). I toke an intensive course of 4 hours a day from Monday to Friday for 3 months and, when I left class, I tried not to speak other languages, although my Italian was painful at the beginning, I used it at all times and with everyone, even with foreigners.

Shortly after arriving in Italy, I started dating an Italian, which helped me a lot to improve my accent (even now some Italians ask me if I am from Florence). I lived there for a year and when I returned to Barcelona, ​​my ragazzo came with me, so I continued to use Italian at home for a couple more years.

I did not learn Italian in 3 months, that was the time I invested in my classes. But I did many hours of practice. In fact, I did so many that I even forgot my other languages! When I returned to Spain, I was unable to speak Spanish, I had neglected it for a year and it took me a month to regain my confidence and fluency.

As I always say, languages ​​have to be practiced regularly to be able to use them without having to think, even if it is your native language. The only way to learn fast is by spending hours. The more you practice it, the more fluent you will be and the more comfortable you will feel speaking it.

If you also want to speak other languages ​​fluently and have fun chatting with native speakers, follow this link.
If you are looking for a teacher of a language, you can find it on our website.

What about you? Do you practice regularly? Are you comfortable speaking other languages? Share your story with us either at the ONLINE Language Exchanges, at the Paella & Language Exchange this Saturday, April 3rd, or at the Brunch & Language Exchange on Sunday, April 11th. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es

Best,
Aina
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Language Learning, Uncategorized
Some Sundays ago, at the Brunch, we were practicing Italian at the table where I sat. We talked about many interesting topics during the three hours of language exchange. At a certain point, someone asked me, “Have you ever made a fool of yourself for not knowing how to pronounce a word correctly in another language?” Of course my answer was: “Yes!”.

Here’s my story, of how I made a fool of myself in front of my former Italian in-laws:
I had been in Italy for a short time, only a couple of months, so my Italian was still not very good. That was also the time I had been dating Riccardo. We had met in a bar, he was the bartender and we fell in love almost at first sight (I say almost because I went many times to make sure he had seen me). We started dating on Halloween night (maybe a premonition of what that relationship would be like, but this is another story). And soon after he wanted to introduce me to his parents, I’d been putting off until he told me it was his mother’s birthday and that she wanted me to go to the celebration too. I could not refuse, so I arranged myself in the Italian style, that is, a little dress, heels, makeup… but all very posh (those of you who know me know that I usually go quite formal, but Riccardo said that Spanish women, myself included, seemed very hippies).

In short, there I was, looking my finest, putting to the test the Italian I had learned in two months of classes, with my new in-laws who I had just met. I was extremely nervous so I didn’t speak too much, but when the waiter arrived I had to open my mouth to order my food. Well, for those of you who do not speak Italian, I will tell you that it is VERY important to highlight the double letters; that is, if there are two “n” in a row, or two “m”, “l”, “s”, it does not matter the letter, if there are two together, you have to pronounce both, because the meaning of the word can change. I wanted to order the “all’arrabbiata” macaroni (it could be translated as “angry”, basically they are a bit spicy), but instead of ordering “le penne all’arrabbiata” I asked for “pene all’arrabbiata”, which it turns out to be an angry penis…

Everyone’s eyes widened and my mother-in-law, raising her voice, repeated to the waiter that what I wanted was teh pasta. I wanted to die of shame. I don’t think I spoke more during the whole awkward evening.

Now I remember it and I laugh, but at that moment I had a terrible time. The good thing is that I learned the importance of pronunciation. This is not learned with books or apps, it is learned by speaking with native speakers.

If you also want to have fun chatting with native speakers of the language you want to improve while enjoying a delicious meal, follow this link.

What about you? Have you ever made a fool of yourself for not knowing how to pronounce a word correctly in another language? Share your story with us either at the ONLINE Language Exchange, at the Paella & Language Exchange this Saturday, April 3rd, or at the Brunch & Language Exchange on Sunday, April 11th. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es

Best,
Aina
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Uncategorized
On March 8, 1908, in New York textile workers of New York Cotton factory were on strike to demand improvements in their working conditions. In commemoration of this date, the socialist groups achieved this date was declared as the International Women’s Day.

Undoubtedly, society and women’s evolution within it is a fact. Todays post is written by four women, very different from each other, but united by something more powerful than discrimination, sexism and inequality: love.

Daniela Piovezan @piove_dani

I grew up in a bubble of machism disguised, in which the woman must be nurtured and protected as a valuable asset that can not mancillarse, physically or morally. In a society full of protocols and scripts. An ornate, padded and safe cage. I do not complain. I’m not complaining because what they taught me, was nothing more than what was taught and is not the time to blame.

It is time to learn from the past, face fears, go ahead, creating a new story and new lessons.It’s time to celebrate. We celebrate the achievements. The conquests of many women who entered our history, fill me with admiration for her example of struggle, resistance and improvement.

Daily battles each and every one of us to have a full life. We celebrate the driving force behind the fight for the same privileges, and why not, also the duties.

We celebrate equality. Equal importance, not of essence. Equal opportunities and rights. We celebrate differences.

The differences that complement and build. The differences that show the beauty of the nuances. We celebrate freedom. Free to go, do or be what you want. The freedom to have children or not. Combing hair, applying makeup, shaving, grooming … or not. Seduce and be seduced. Go alone or accompanied. Showing your knees, cheeks or chest. Playing football, billiards and chess. You may like pink, blue or yellow, without distinction, nor because one color or another means anything.

Let’s celebrate which each can provide as a human being, with their genes, personalities and stories.

DSO   @dsowriter

I am very pleased that women unite for causes that we support throughout. What hurts, often, is that we seem to competitors, more than friends. Surely, retrograde education, is much to blame for this. But it is as it is, even if I don’t understand, nor I will ever understand, but unity among us, does not always mean power.

It’s something that hurts me, but I fight every day to make this change. We stigmas in our skin that cause us pain without being able to understand why. But the reality is only one, throughout this struggle for hundreds of years, against the injustices of a society in which the woman was more than subdued by the pressure without human reason, we drown in such a way that I think even today … It remains a problem.

We fight, we go to the streets, something that was unthinkable. We speak and say what we think, without feeling fear in our bodies to be nullified or even mistreated. Life is not always fair. With hand on heart, consistent of what I say, man, talking male, has not been fair to women. We were a lower “category”, our voice, our desires and what we really needed was not taken into consideration. Creating a dent in our lives and thinking, I had to really be.

But what I said, women have to unite without any separatism, support for good and bad, although we are not complement agree. Undoubtedly, the saying ” Unity is Strength” , should be our doctrine, to put a pair of ovaries to any character who wants to belittle us, just for the condition of being a woman.

We are free women, struggling with the ideas of an independent life created by our own choices, without an inculpatory hand pointing at what “we must do.”

Today I want to toast.

Let’s toast with a good Cosmopolitan:

Here’s to all single mothers.

Here’s to those business women who give up so much, just because of being a woman.

Here’s to each woman who without fear has escaped the bastard who raised his hand against them.

Here’s to all those who come out to the streets on March 8 defending our rights.

Here’s to women who made patience a virtue.

Thank you all for being women.

Ivonne tarraco @iua_tc

To all warriors

I have one day, but it is worth  it. I took to the streets without fear, convinced of what I do and why I’m here. I owe it to them, my mother, my grandmother, all the women who I did not have the pleasure of meeting, and opened my pace and marked the way to go. I carry my own open fronts and deal my own battles, but today I feel I am able to stop an entire country. I move on with my strategy and I expect a large number of troops. We are flagged by the same goals and our hymn has led us here. They may try to discourage me and desautorizarme, or call into question my intentions and my abilities, you may question my judgment or simply do not take into consideration but will continue there, at the foot of the canyon. I will move forward with firm and decisive step, gaining ground on merit, seeking new allies every day until I forget why I was here today. I hope to leave behind lost causes and be able to muster the courage to sacrifice myself for all those for who is worth fighting. I know it will not be easy, perhaps the idea to abandon will tempt me, but I am also thinking of future generations, we have to entrench present. So I’ll stock up with my owns and the borrowed, the innate and the acquired, I will have all the resources at my disposal and a time not always prove to be necessary in order to achieve, at last, the long-awaited victory. And if in the worst case, I fall or I am hurt, I know I have the support of countless helping hands that will shield my heart the courage to get back on my feet. Recognizing me imperfect and vulnerable, weathered by the ravages of life and coached them from illusion and honestly, I acknowledge what my demands are, because it is these and not others, and I have no intention of changing them: 

I claim a place in the world, my place, ours.

I claim worthy, equal and fair wages.

I claim shared hours and minutes alone.

I claim them the same opportunities.

I claim freedom, equality and justice.

I claim the right to decide and to get excited, to learn and to be wrong, to fight and to give up, to succeed and to fail.

I claim humanity over any gender.

I claim love in all its forms and expressions.

I claim respect and my own life.

I claim the power to be myself.

Lara de Mena  @laradmena 

Writting about women’s day, quickly leads me to think about the struggle for equality with men, wage inequality, gender violence and many battles, we must not give up. All this is true, we still live in tow of many evils in our society, giving my full support today who will take to the streets to claim it. But in my humble desk, I want my words go dedicated to highlight to bring to light all that we know and sometimes we miss…


Woman, everyone knows their morphological meaning, but what about the hidden meaning?Woman is synonymous with passion, emotion, courage, strength, dignity, courage, intelligence, emotional strength, empathy and suffering (yes, we suffer and sometimes a lot, but because we have the ability to feel).


There is a word that encompasses the feelings of a woman, it is love. Love for what we do, love for how we do it, love for who surrounds us. Her beauty, her friends, her loneliness, her independence, her frailty, her leadership, her simplicity, at the end of the day, what is the most important?


I am a single woman, without ever having gone through the altar, I have not experienced the birth of a child, nor I’ve gotten a managerial position. However, all this, I live with the joy of knowing that I am surrounded by love. With the need to share and share, so, today, March 8, I will raise with the sole goal, to thank all those beautiful women who are part of my life, to love and admire you. You are worth it and you know it! 
THANK YOU!



From Sin hipocresías blog, by Dolors Siles

https://sinhipocresias.wordpress.com/ 

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