Language Learning

My First Language Exchange Experience

(Reading time 2 minutes) 

Learn About my First Time at the Language Exchange!

I arrived in Barcelona a few weeks ago, as a college student from the United States doing an internship for the summer. Part of my internship program is taking Spanish classes, with a requirement of using what I learn in class in real-world situations, while in Spain. I was trying to find places to practice and stumbled upon the Barcelona Language Exchange. Here is the story of my first language exchange experience.

On Thursday night, I headed to the Space Cowboy, to attend a language exchange meeting for the first time. To be honest, my Spanish could use some serious work, I am only able to comprehend very simple sentences and verbs, often getting lost in translation when asked a simple question, such as “would you like a bag with that?”

I am used to my thoughts coming across clearly to strangers and friends alike, back in my home country, being unable to share my thoughts clearly has been a new experience. Being at a loss for words when trying to communicate simple ideas takes some getting used to, requiring the confidence that even if when I make mistakes, it is still worth continuing to try to improve my skills.  

However, when attending the Barcelona Language Exchange event, the fear that I will confuse people with my mismatched Spanish is much less intense, as the precedent is set that this is an environment focused on learning. Being able to switch between helping others improve their English while learning Spanish was a lot of fun. You are both the teacher and the student

Reflection on my First Experience 

This experience was refreshing and empowering. For those who are trying to learn a language through a social conversational setting, you really should give it a try. Here at Barcelona Language Exchange, we have many events every week, from Thursdays at the Space Cowboy to sailing on Sundays. We hope to see you soon!  

What about you? How did you adjust to learning a new language for the first time? Share your story with us either in the weekly language exchange in bars, in the Sunset Sailing & Language Exchange on Saturday June 17th, the Brunch & Language Exchange on Sunday June 18th, or the Paella & Language Exchange on July 1st. We would love to publish your story! You can send it to us at