Practice Spanish With Native Spanish Speakers – Intercambios

Do you need to practice your Spanish with someone but you live in a part of the world, say Nebraska, where nobody speaks Spanish? Welcome to the year 2013!

The idea of intercambios is that you meet with a Spanish speaker who is learning English. Together you spend half the time conversing in one language, then you switch languages. Usually, having intercambios meant meeting someone face-to-face, usually in their country, while you were visiting. Not any more!

It’s really amazing that Spanish students the world over can practice their Spanish with a native Spanish speaker over the internet for free. There are a variety of options to do this. Some sites allow you to connect on Skype, others allow you to “chat” with text messaging chat programs, and others can even arrange traditional face-to-face intercambios if you happen to be traveling. (What a great way to make friends or find a date!)

These are some of the sites that I have found that seem to be the most useful and reputable. Although I haven’t used them all myself (yet!), I was able to get some basic information together to create this blog post.

MY LANGUAGE EXCHANGE

This site seems to be the most rockin’ in terms of activity. They connect language learners from all over the world (any language). You can “chat”, penpal, voice chat via Skype, or arrange face-to-face meetings. It’s not exactly free, because if you want to initiate a contact, you must be a paid member. Fortunately it’s affordable ($12 for 3 months). What a great way to meet people if you are traveling! They even offer lesson guides to help you along with your conversation.

CONVERSATION EXCHANGE


This site is pretty much the same as My Language Exchange, in terms of what it offers. The main difference is that it is completely FREE.

http://www.intercambiodeidioma.com/
I can’t write too much about this site as I am currently denied access to the English version. (Because I’m in Peru). I think it must go by another name and website in English. It doesn’t have any real time features, but rather focuses on meeting people face to face when traveling. It seems to attract a younger crowd, judging from the pictures.

iTALKI


This site not only matches you with language learning partners, but they allow language teachers to offer their services. So you can find an online Spanish tutor here. There is also a good forum with lots of resources for language learners. If you join by clicking the above link, it will send you a personal invite from yours truly.

VERBLING
This is another Spanish / English only site. They have a 5 minute time clock for your intercambios, so in case it doesn’t go well, you have an escape hatch. But you can continue with the conversation if it’s going well.

Conversing online with people you don’t know isn’t for everybody. I haven’t been particularly drawn to doing it. I don’t like small talk in general, and I’m not very talkative in my own language. But when I get back to the States, I’m going to try these out and see how it goes. And the next time I travel to a Spanish speaking country, I’m going to seek out some new conversation friends.

One final suggestion. If you are traveling to a Spanish speaking country, you may want to consider joining CouchSurfing.org. This is a great way to meet new people who speak Spanish, who let you stay with them for free (thus you can save on lodging) and they usually are happy to show you around and take you to the secret places that regular ole’ tourists don’t get to see. This is the best type of intercambio you can have with a native Spanish speaker.

OTHER ARTICLES OF INTEREST

10 Tips For Improving Your Spanish Conversation Skills

Best Way To Learn And Practice the Spanish Subjunctive

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