Since my classes are designed to teach foreigners Spanish, I do not have any classes with Spanish students. This is fine because my Spanish is not yet at the level where I could keep up with native born Speakers, and I really enjoy the classes I am taking. Naturally my closest friends here are American, because they are the people I became friends with first, and I love spending time with them. The only downside is we tend to speak English with each other.
Luckily, there are tons of programs to meet Spaniards and people from all parts of the world. My friend Julia and I participate in the Tandem program, in which we meet up with the same two Spanish buddies each week. We speak English with them for the first half of our time, and then switch to Spanish so we each get to practice the others’ native tongue. This has been most helpful because my buddies, Dani and Guille, correct us and also tell us what a Spanish speaker would actually say. Often when we learn languages we are taught how to behave in formal circumstances, so now I get to learn what people would say on a regular basis, and even slang!
Julia and I worked it out with our Tandems that we meet every Thursday for about an hour at a cafe. We choose our location depending on where the Erasmus event is. Erasmus is an international organization to connect exchange students and native people. Every Thursday Erasmus also hosts an event, so I go straight from Tandem to Erasmus and get to continue practicing Spanish. At Eramus events I have met people from all over the world from Italy to neighboring France all the way to Taiwan, and of course Spain! We tend to use Spanish as our lingua franca, though since some people do not know Spanish yet, and most have learned English to an extent, we sometimes speak in English too.
Either way Tandem and Erasmus have been really eye-opening experiences so far as I learn about distinct cultures. For anyone studying abroad I really recommend looking for programs like these because they really are great ways to immerse in the culture—and they’re fun too!
I don’t have any pictures with my new friends yet but here are just some cool ones of Oviedo. Oh and some snow because hadn’t seen that in a few years!!