by Amy Menchhofer
Whether you’re looking for a new friend or just good conversation, the intercambio is one of the most useful tools to help the expat assimilate to his new home (or to help any local to get away from it all). Luckily, it’s also a million times easier than finding an apartment. But where to start?
Check out local expat papers like In Madrid, look into the various language nights offered throughout the city. Located in bars and bookshops and typically starting after dinner, they are the perfect chance to meet a conversation partner. (See details below.)
Remember also that intercambios are like doctors — you can find a really good one by referral. So ask around — at your language school, at the gym, among your friends, and their friends, and their friends’ friends. The intercambio “market” is ever increasing and within those seven degrees of separation you’ll certainly find a willing candidate.
Things to keep in mind:
- The term “market” can be all too true as plenty of people looking for an “intercambio” are also looking for love. If that’s not your goal make it clear early on, so you and your friend are on the same page.
- Intercambios are definitely not limited to “English and …”. Plenty of the aforementioned resources include people looking for a wide variety of languages, including French, Italian, German, Japanese, and even, on one recent Craig’s List posting, American Sign Language!
Now that you’ve found an intercambio, keep your eyes out for the coming post on how to be a good one.
O’Neills: C/ Principe, 12 Metro: Sol Tuesdays 22h.
Café Madrid: C/ Mesón de Paños, 6 Metro: Opera Wednesdays 21.30h.