Hi, if you are like me then you have a love for the Spanish language. You have also likely been studying a lot, taken a few courses, and maybe even watched one or two telenovelas.
Now, after being armed with as much vocabulary and grammar as you can stuff in your brain, it is time to produce. You are ready to practice speaking Spanish. It’s time to get active and leave the passive listening phase behind.
But, where do you go? Who will you talk to? You may not have a lot of friends who speak Spanish. You are probably the only person in your family or peer group who has an interest in languages. And, you are not ready to break the bank on a two-week immersion course in Colombia.
No worries, you can find all the speaking practice opportunities you need right in your own backyard.
Atlanta is a diverse city and there are many students and native Spanish speakers right here.
The truth is that it isn’t always easy to find these opportunities, but with a little leg work and being intentional you can speak Spanish at least 50% of the week.
I want to help you get on the fast track to speaking Spanish, so keep reading for tips on where to go.
1. Your local library. The public library system is a very undervalued resource in my community.
I can remember going with my mother to the library and just being so excited to get a new book. And, I continue this habit with my own children.
But, I just discovered this month that the DeKalb County Library offers a monthly program called the International Café. I initially thought that it was a language exchange.
It was great to review some grammar points and during the last 30 minutes of class the students could chat among each other.
The students were of varying levels, so it was beneficial to everyone.
The café that I went to was at Wesley Chapel Library, but the class/service is also offered at the Brookhaven branch.
Check out the events page to see when the next International Café will be held.
2. The Latin American Association (LAA). The LAA is a non-profit organization located on Buford Highway.
This organization offers many services to include, but not limited to, English classes, Spanish classes, resume assistance, and translation services.
However, they also offer a free language exchange, known as “Coffee Hour”, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for students of English and Spanish. Learners can come and meet others are speak English and Spanish.
The environment is very open and friendly. The organization has been running this program for many years. As a bonus, there are usually free pastries and coffee.
Check out the LAA website for more info.
3. Meetup groups. Meetup.com is an online platform with the goal of getting people offline.
You can go to Meetup to find your tribe and then get some real face time at organized events.
I personally love meetup, because I have been an organizer and a faithful member of some groups.
A meetup group is a great way to practice speaking Spanish. You will again meet many people who are leaning the language also and you may also likely connect with native speakers.
In Atlanta, there are multiple Spanish language groups.
There is a group that meets faithfully every Saturday morning. And, another group that meets on Monday evenings.
I have met some great friends after being actively engaged in meetups for the last 5+ years. I also have friends who have gotten married after meeting at a meetup.
The meetup groups can open doors to the Spanish language and new relationships.
Well, I promised to share with you 3 places in Atlanta where you could practice your Spanish speaking skills. And, I hope I did that. So, head over to the library, the Latin American Association, or a local meetup group and habla español.
Note: These tips are relevant outside of Atlanta as well.