Once you’ve memorized your vocab lists and can recite verb tables in your sleep, what then? It’s time to put your Spanish skills to work by actually speaking. Here are some ideas and resources to help you find Spanish speakers, wherever you might live.
Living in a Spanish-speaking country
The best way to practice speaking is of course with native speakers. If you live in Spain or Latin American, this can be as easy as walking out your front door – at least in theory. While you can certainly exchange a few words with your panadero, cajero, and frutero, for actual conversations you’ll need to make more effort.
Clubs and Associations
The best place to start is at the tourist office: find out if there’s a list of local clubs and teams. Depending on the size of your town, there might be hundreds: bridge clubs, football teams, choral societies… there’s bound to be something that you’re interested in, and joining a club is a great way to meet like-minded native Spanish speakers. Also take a look at these:
- Clubs and associations in Mexico
- Clubs and associations in Spain
- Asociaciones por país
- Instituciones y organismos por localidad
While you’re at the tourist office, you can also ask whether there are any cultural organizations or centros comunitarios, which usually offer various classes at very reasonable prices.
It’s definitely worth finding the nearest branch of the Instituto Cervantes, a government organization devoted to teaching Spanish and offering various cultural events within and beyond the Spanish-speaking world.
Living outside of a Spanish-speaking country
If you don’t live in a Spanish-speaking country, I highly recommend visiting one as often as possible, even if just for a few days. Getting to use your Spanish in real-life situations will inspire you to continue learning and improving like nothing else can.
Between trips, you can also look into the Instituto Cervantes, and visit your nearest community college, community center, and library to see if there are any Spanish clubs you might join. Meetup is another good source of info about Spanish clubs, and if all else fails, you can create your own. There are bound to be other Spanish lovers in your area – all they need is someone to take the first step and create a club.