What is an Intercambio and Can They Help You Learn Spanish?

Intercambios can be a lot of fun 

What is an Intercambio?

If you have been in Spain for a while and are still struggling to learn the language, you may hear people tell you to get an intercambio. Now, if you have no idea what an intercambio is, that could be a problem.

Especially as, without taking advantage of one, you could find it takes you a long time to become fluent in Spanish.

Here then is a quick run-down on your typical intercambio in Spain and how they can help you learn Spanish faster.

An intercambio technically means a language exchange,  or language exchange partner, and is set up between two people — one usually a native Spanish speaker, the other you.

Of course, you also want the native Spanish speaker to be able to speak your native language, or it can be difficult for them to correct your Spanish and explain what you are saying wrong.


meeting in a cafe is common

You will arrange to meet somewhere for a coffee or a snack and then just spend the time getting to know each other by talking. Often intercambios run for 1-2 hours and will be spent with the first half in Spanish and then the second half in your native language, so both you and the other person can improve their foreign language speaking skills.

It helps to have an intercambio with someone you actually have something in common with so, if possible, try to find people you actually want to hang out with as it makes it far less of a chore, and much more fun that way.


Friends may know people who want to be an intercambio


How to Find an Intercambio in Spain

You can find an intercambio in many different ways.

Post on one of the Spanish language forums online that you are looking for an intercambio, and you might be amazed how many people are interested in meeting you for a conversation.

Leave a post asking for an intercambio on Craigslist for the city or town you are currently in, in the ‘strictly platonic’ section, or look at English language magazines and newspapers in Spain. They often have sections just for intercambios.

If you are learning Spanish at a language school, they will often know about intercambios, or will have notices posted on a bulletin board from people who are interested in being one.

Also, don’t forget to ask friends and acquaintances for referrals. They may know of people who are dying to be an intercambio to help someone learn Spanish and improve their English, French, German or Italian too.