Do you want to get out of the house and speak English?
Perfect! Believe it or not, you don’t have to move to an English speaking country to practice speaking with other people in a natural setting.
Today I’m going to give you some tips [recommendations] that will help you take your English to the next level! After reading this article, you’ll have the tools you need to find English groups in your city and start practicing offline.
That’s right, it’s time to meet people face-to-face [in person].
Let’s take a look at these five free resources that are going to help you:
- Language Exchanges
- Local Language Groups on Facebook
Now let’s get started!
Meetup is a website that is great for anyone who wants to meet people with common interests, including of course, other language learners!
It’s simple. Create an account online or on your smartphone by downloading the application. Then do a search under the category “Language and Ethnic Identity.” This will bring up any language groups in your area. For example, Rio has three, Madrid has about 20 and Barcelona has around 30! And there are always more being created.
Look for one that is interesting, select it, and look to see if they have any upcoming events. Then click RSVP and remember to show up [attend]. That’s it!
If you are an aspiring leader, you can also start your own Meetup, but unfortunately it’s not free. However, it’s also not expensive. Learn more about starting your own meetup here.
Couchsurfing is a great resource not only for traveling, but also for practicing your English locally.
Almost every big city has recurring get-togethers [meet ups] or parties as well as all sorts of other events. It’s also common that people get together for different types of excursions (for example–going to a concert, to a museum, hiking, camping, etc.).
For a lot more information on how to use Couchsurfing, read this article.
3. Language Exchanges
Many cities have locally organized language exchanges. The idea of this is that groups of people take turns speaking between two languages. For example, in Brazil you might speak Portuguese for 20 minutes (to give foreigners a chance to practice) and then switch to English for 20 minutes.
You may be able to find a language exchange on the aforementioned Meetup, but there are other ways of finding them as well. Sometimes they are organized at bars or education centers. For example, check out this English-Spanish language exchange at the Philharmonic English Tavern in Barcelona.
The best way to find a language exchange in your city is to check with the language department at the local university and to do some research using Google. Another great suggestion is to ask at your school about foreigner groups and clubs (for example, Erasmus, AIESEC, Rotary Club, etc.).
For an online alternative to this, read this article.
4. Local Language Groups on Facebook
Some language exchanges or English events might have a group on Facebook. This is a great way to meet people online and then to be invited to various events and meet those people in person!
Try doing a search on Facebook for: X language exchange, X English exchange, X English group; and anything else that occurs to you (X being the name of your city; for example, Barcelona language exchange).
For example, when RealLife English started out, we organized parties in several cities around the world, including Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Barcelona, including others!
Take the Next Step
You might not be able to find all of these resources in your city, but hopefully you can find something that will help you get out of the house, make friends, and practice your English in real life settings [situations].
Although you can learn a lot of English online, we implore you to take action, get off your computer, and give your eyes a rest from the screen.
It’s really important to practice your English with real people who will hold you accountable and inspire you to always improve! Trust me, it will make a huge difference in your learning.
Challenge yourself and find a group in your city and practice your English as much as possible!
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