What are good ways to meet Spanish speakers/practice my Spansh?
January 21, 2011 9:52 PM   Subscribe

What are good ways to meet Spanish speakers/practice my Spansh in Washington DC? Also, are there tutors who can help refine an accent?

I am fairly fluent, and speak what I am told is a vaguely Italian sounding Spanish (who knew). I am ethnically half Venezuelan, but taught myself Spanish while abroad in Uruguay, and am at the point where I can read anything, understand movies, take a poli sci class, etc. I have recently moved to a new city, Washington DC, and would love to meet people who speak Spanish (ideally native speakers...), but am not sure how to best go about that.

Things I've thought about, and my qualms:
- Volunteering: I'm sure there are ways to volunteer for organizations that need spanish speakers or translators or whatever, but I don't think that this is really a good way to "practice spanish," as the level of conversations is probably pretty basic (ie "run over there" or "add these things" or whatever)
- Meetup.com: it seems every group for Spanish speakers is basically run by some service that wants to sell classes
- Couchsurfing: people from Spanish speaking countries often come through town looking for people to have a drink with. The plus is that these are often interesting people, and are native speakers...the downside is that they might want to practice their English, and given that they are the one traveling so far, that seems pretty fair.

Further, I was wondering if anyone knew of a good way to find a pronunciation coach (NOT a class, but someone to work with my pronunciation). This is tricky because I'd ideally like not to learn how to speak with a Mexican accent, because I speak with the southern cone accent and would sound pretty silly with some weird mix of the Mexican accent thrown in, I imagine. Perhaps a good coach can help with the accent independent of their own Spanish accent? I don't know. Hell, even if I didn't care about that, I'd still have no clue how to go about finding a tutor. I had one in Uruguay for a time, but alas, I am not there any longer...

Thanks for your help!
posted by wooh to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I studied French with a private tutor at Language One (it's in Woodley Park) a couple of years ago and had a really good experience. They have group classes and private tutoring and will happily work with you on a particular issue or goal. I know they offer Spanish, though I can't speak to the specific teachers, but when I went there, they offered the first lesson free so you could get a feel for the person.
posted by hansbrough at 10:40 PM on January 21, 2011

My Language Exchange is a pretty good site for online language exchanges, despite the ancient site design. I took the liberty of doing a search of Spanish-speakers with Washington D.C. in their locations and it throws up quite a few results.

Of course, the catch is that you might have to help them with English or whatever, but I've used the site to find native speakers of a foreign language I was learning, and the people who sign up there are usually very serious about whatever language they're learning. Well worth the subscription.
posted by Senza Volto at 11:58 PM on January 21, 2011

Most of the embassies have cultural events, and getting on the mailing lists is a good way to meet native speakers. I recall the Argentinian embassy had quite a lively film series. And once you start meeting people, you can probably set up some sort of tutoring, etc.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:01 AM on January 22, 2011

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