7 qualities that prove Intercambio matters just as much as language classes

Connecting with people from around the world

Intercambio is an open dialogue for people learning and hoping to effectively communicate with others in a language that they’re working on. As such, there are students from Europe and from around the world that attend: in one sitting, you might encounter a group representing the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, the U.S.A., and China. Your experience may change week to week, but the fact stands that Intercambio is a place to make connections in places you might have never thought possible.

Learning to listen to different dialects and accents

One of the hardest facets to learning a new language is becoming able to understand native speakers regardless of their geographic background and to comprehend the statements of those who are learning the language as well but are still learning pronunciation and vocabulary. At Intercambio, the diversity of the group provides for practice: students may hear English from different regions in the U.K. or the U.S.A. and encounter different regionalisms and accents that provide for greater linguistic growth.

Getting face-to-face dialogue with fluent speakers

In dialogue courses at other programs, often students practice with random speakers through a video-call. At Intercambio, students engage in a full range of communicative experiences—for example, discovering the tics of body language and movement that video-calling can’t account for. Beyond the physical, emotional connection comes with present communication, which leads to conversations that lead deeper than a script of questions to address.

Tackling topics that class doesn’t address

Everyone has a field that they are specialized in. Whether it’s being a parent, being a highly-trained scientist, or being a store-owner, each person has special terminology that a regular course might not cover: “supply-chain” or “otorhinolaryngologist,” for example, or “naptime.” Intercambio has the kind of flow that provides for the discovering of words that don’t appear on an ordinary vocabulary sheet.

Teaching other people about your passions and work

Communication at Intercambio isn’t only about receiving experiences but about learning to effectively communicate your own. Addressing the topic of education, for instance, not only lets you hear about someone’s time on a study abroad program or about the schools in their home country, but gives you the opportunity to relate the similarities and differences or an anecdote about your educational experience. If you have found your passion in non-profit work, as another example, learning a new language both allows and requires you to be able to communicate that calling in more languages and to more people—and Intercambio is perfect in that regard.

Engaging in off-the-cuff conversation

Because Intercambio is never scripted, only prompted by an opening question, the conversation is allowed space to grow and flow. Whereas in a classroom, the learning goals are established and the class structure is set, Intercambio allows students to explore the ways that interactions with people from different backgrounds approach conversation in their own culture and language. Students may discover differences between their own experiences and those of others, but they may also learn how similar their lives are to those who live halfway around the world. The conversation moves quickly, though, providing practice for the acceleration of sentence synthesis.

Developing critical thinking skills in your target language

One aspect of language learning that students may be tested on is critical thinking and argumentative discussion in their target language. Intercambio is an open exchange of ideas as much as it is one of languages, so it functions as a safe and productive practice ground for the development of dialogue in a space where the participants represent various religious, national, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.