Top Five Tips for Being a Good Intercambio

by Amy Menchhofer

So you’ve got an intercambio. Now what? Ideally an intercambio is about fun and learning and perfecting another language. But the first couple times will perhaps feel like something between a job interview and a first date. Keep these tips in mind to make sure things flow smoothly.

1. Pick a good place. Hopping bars, sidewalk terraces, busy parks – places primed for people-watching provide an endless supply of conversation topics to get the ball rolling.

2. Be on time and wear something bright. Meeting in a public place with someone that you’ve never even seen before is mildly nerve-wracking. Make it easier on the other person by wearing algo llamativo (something attention-getting).

3. Don’t be shy. Striking up conversation with a total stranger can be somewhat daunting. Chalk it up to a good experience and jump in with both feet.

4. Don’t talk too much. Hint: Intercambio means interchange.

5. Don’t be too nice. Correcting someone else’s speech doesn’t always come easily (unless you were born with the teacher gene). But if you don’t do it then there’s really not much point to the whole get-together. You’re both there to improve so don’t take offense and don’t keep quiet.

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About Katie

Katie is an English teaching assistant working at a bilingual public school in the center of Madrid.
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