We at Cheap in Madrid strongly believe that going to intercambios, or language exchange events, can really help you learn new languages. We’ve been profiling all the great intercambios going on around Madrid. The intercambio nights at J and J Books and Coffee (c/ Espiritu Santo, 47 metro: Noviciado) provide a great opportunity to get out and practice another language. They are held every Wednesday and Thursday night from 8 p.m. to closing time. Attendance is free. J and J’s Manager, Dave Cardillo, fills us in on the details.
CiM: Did you found this intercambio?
Dave: Yes I did, shortly after I started working here in about 2004. We used to do it every night but then that became too much.
CiM: What other languages besides Spanish and English do people come to practice?
Dave: Chinese and French, although it’s 95-98% English and Spanish. It also depends on who comes that night.
CiM: How do you get the different people to talk to each other?
Dave: Our host Erin greets everyone. We don’t force anyone to sit down. It’s very informal. This is not school. I tell people to put their notebooks away and relax.
CiM: Are you trying to practice any other languages right now?
Dave: No, but I do speak Spanish.
CiM: Does this group host any other events?
Dave: Yes every Friday at 11 p.m. we host a quiz night here. People spilt into groups of four. Anywhere from 50 to 70 people show up. It costs €1 to enter and the winning team takes all the money. There are four different themes, 32 questions total and it’s all in English.