6 July 2015


Last summer I was reading El diario montañés and I came across the following article about HABLAMOS, an agreement between the UIMP and our EOI to promote conversation exchanges among students. I immediately recognized one of my Avanzado 2 students. I emailed her asking for an article about her experience because I thought it might encourage other students to take part in the programme. So, read both articles and take the plunge!

¿Qué te parece si ‘Hablamos’?

El primer jueves de cada mes, más de un centenar de estudiantes extranjeros de la UIMP y españoles de la Escuela Oficial de Idiomas se reúnen para intercambiar conversación. READ MORE...
  • This is the link to the school's website where you can find further information and sign up if you are interested: http://www.eoisantander.org/noticia-2/  
  • This is Cintia's article:
  • I decided to join in because I love learning English. I really enjoy the moment in which I manage to talk about issues concerning Santander and Spain. And doing it in English is an actual aim. Going to this kind of meetings is the easiest way to, in the summer, get to know students like us who are willing to learn a language and get by with a conversation. The best thing to do it is face to face.

    You have to enrol for the meeting through the website and decide in which month you want to attend. Then, the organization invites you to a welcome party that it happens on the first Thursday afternoon of the month you’ll attend.
    When I went there, organization asked me for my name to check it in a list and even they could tell to show them the email of confirmation just in case. The heads of both schools, that from Santander and from UIMP, said some words to thank us for attending the meeting and the profits of doing activities like these in our city, with no many chances during the winter. After the speech, I led to a group of girls who were also looking for a first contact in Spanish.
    I introduced myself in English, I told one of the girls I have taken lessons in the school and why I have learnt English. And I like helping people who learn Spanish when they want more details about daily conversation. So she thought it was a good idea to meet each other somewhere around the city to go for a walk in the streets, to show the most interesting places of the city where locals do everyday life, to chat about things in common, and stuff. To sum up, to do a conversation exchange taking advantage the good weather and staying both in Santander where you can go on foot easily.

    The first time we have known each other, we swapped our email addresses and we decided to arrange by mail as students’ phones don’t work properly and are out of range sometimes.
    So we agreed to meet at a day and a place that fitted for both. Also, the place to meet is important because they usually stay in the UIMP’s hall of residence or at family homes close to the university and ‘Sardinero’, so it is not easy for them to get to the city centre at first if they aren’t used to it.
    Well, we met some days around ‘Sardinero’ to go to the beach or to the city centre and we walked by the landmarks explaining about them and talking about topics in common. We talked for a while all in English and then we switched to Spanish. We talked about slang, sayings, words meaning …everything about students can learn about. Sometimes, when a native speaker and a local are in person is the best way to highlight the useful things of the language.

    I have very good memories of the time we spent together. It was nearly four weeks and it was rewarding. It is really nice to get to know her because she was really interested in knowing more about Spain and Cantabria’s history. She enjoyed, in fact, her stay in the city. Although she had a lot of homework to do, she knew how to find time to sunbathe, since the beaches were very close to her residence, and have fun with her friends.
    She asked me to do a small interview for one of her lessons what it was such a fantastic idea because I haven’t ever been interviewed and I was delighted with the experience. And so was she. It was very good indeed.
    For me, I am pleased with this kind of events. I reckon when you learn a language and you have the chance to practise it with a native speaker, it is an asset. After a year studying hard, doing writings, speaking topics with your classmates and teachers, this opportunity is as a breath of fresh air to keep up with your studies. You can feel relaxed in the way you speak, you are not being assessed and it is the first step to speak more fluently. Your language partner is a student like you, so you both are even going to make any mistakes but don’t worry, he or she is going to understand you. Feel free to have a go, because I can assure you if you want to speak, you will achieve it and people you will meet along the way are going to be very kind with loads of talks to share with you.
    I also have to say that as there are many people who want to go to these meetings and depending on the amount of foreigners speakers come to Santander, there are sometimes few people to talk with so the organization can inform that the meeting is cancelled. In any case, every Wednesday people also meet at the UIMP’s café in the event ‘Café de las Lenguas’ to chat with the students can attend after their lessons while there is a performance art, poetry, music, etc.
    So, don’t miss the chance if you happen to be in Santander next summer and want to speak for a while with a native speaker. Not also it is worth it but you will definitely see an improvement in all your skills and have fun. Happy learning!

    Remember enrol the meetings as soon as possible. At the end of May or at the beginnings of June the form to fill in will be available in the EOI website. Have an amusing experience!

  • H/T to Cintia.

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