Forum Rocket Spanish Conversation in Spanish Finding Spanish speakers on Skype?

Finding Spanish speakers on Skype?

Steven-W15

Any recommendations? Dan, I think I remember reading that you were doing this.

Dan-H24

Yes: conversationexchange.com/

It is free, you sign up in the usual way. You post your profile; where you are from, age, gender, your native and target languages, and a little blurb about yourself. Other than an occasionally distracting sidebar ad enticing me to date beautiful Russian women (seriously!) the site is pretty ad free and the site doesn't send me spam emails.

You can search for other members who are native in your target language and are learning your native language, and be searched by others. You send one another messages on the system, and can agree to do written pen pal exchanges, or meet up on Skype.

This has been a very helpful adjunct to the lessons here, and let you speak the language live, which to me is the main reason for and best way to become fluent. So far I have Skyped with people from Spain, Colombia, and Venezuela on several occasions. Usually we talk for an hour, 1/2 in Spanish and 1/2 in English. The person from Spain teaches Spanish to foreigners there, so she has a great understanding of vocab and grammar, and a very neutral, slang free accent that is easy to understand. Pretty much the same with the person from Colombia. The person from Venezuela has an accent and drops her s's, which is challenging at times. As well as giving me practical listening and speaking experience, it is a great way to learn about other cultures and geographies. I recommend it highly.

Oh yeah: I did an hour Skype session with Denise, one of the tutors here. This was a great experience also. Denise also speaks very clearly and slowly, and quickly corrects those little grammar, vocab, and conjugation errors we make.

Hope this helps.

Dan

Steven-W15

Many thanks. Just what I was looking for. And I've been looking to date beautiful Russian women as well so it looks like I'll be able to kill two birds with one stone... ☺

Dan-H24

Por nada.

If the site was REALLY intuitive it would know that Spanish is my target language and would entice me to date beautiful Cuban women.

Ava Dawn

I am very lucky that the moment I park my car at Reyna de los Angeles, Iglesia de Catolica, I am entering a foreign latin country consists of Mexicans, and other spanish speaking latinos. I can spend a couple of hours there and not see or hear anyone who can speak English only.

Steven-W15

¡Ahá! Ahora entiendo. Iba a ir a Cuba para conseguirte una muchacha cubana. Descubrí tu plan malveado, Daniel. Estoy seguro de que ya no hemos visto las fotos más interesantes de tu viaje...        - Esteban

Ava Dawn

This is interesting. We are having our own little "novelas" here in RS.

Dan-H24

www.conversationexchange.com
 

Dan-H24

A few days ago I was contacted by a Spanish speaker wanting to trade English/Spanish speaking practice. I learned from our messages that she lives in Moscow, which I thought was pretty interesting.

During our first session just now I mentioned my trips to Cuba. She asked how I liked Cuba, then went on to say that she IS Cuban! Needless to say, we had lots to discuss from then on.

¡Es un mundo pequeño!

diranu

Sí.  Esta es una novela interesante!

I would love to try the conversationexchange site.  I tend not to be much of a conversationalist so I'm not sure how it would fair.  I would need someone that is an aggressive speaker.  I've wanted to do online skyping for some time now but really hesitate for that reason.

Dan, the woman from Spain sounds like she would be someone that could help me in that area.  I've notice in the past that people who are good teachers, are good at keeping a conversation going.  Do you think she would be good in that way?

Dan-H24

Diane: Trust me, I am not a good conversationalist either.

You are right about teachers, or at least language teachers, knowing how to keep a conversation going. For example, yesterday when I Skyped with Adela I mentioned that my girlfriend and I are going to a ZZ Top show tonight. She started asking me questions about it, such as where the show was, what time it was, what we were going to do before and after the show, etc. I realized that she had no idea where the show was at, but the questions were a way to keep me talking.

Another thing I notice about Adela is that she has a very neutral accent. I don't hear a strong "th" pronunication of c and z. And she doesn't use words unique to Spain such as "vale." And of course, she politely but quickly corrects my mistakes.

One strategy that is helpful is to agree on a topic in advance so you can think about things to say and ask. Also, the people with whom I have connected on Conversation Exchange post a profile of themselves, so I see what they are interested in: cooking, dancing, etc. and talk about those things.

You also might like to spend $20 on a session with the tutors here as a way to ease into Skyping. I did one with Denise awhile back and had a good experience. Again, a very neutral accent (she is from Argentina and I have trouble understanding most people from there), speaks slowly, and corrects quickly. I haven't tried Paula yet but I intend to soon.

Finally, I have wondered if others here would be interested in Skyping. We have the commonality of the RS lessons, and some of us are at about the same level. We could practice speaking and listening to one another.

Steven-W15

I had a Skype conversation this morning with someone from the Canary Islands - and that on just a few hours sleep. Whoa, that was difficult...

Ava Dawn

I saw my son do this thing called "hangout" . He would be the initiator of the topic and multiple people are attending it. Maybe it is like a chat group. You can see the faces of everyone. I think it is too high tech for me. Since I have a lot of latinos at my work and my Church, it is not difficult looking for someone to talk to. I noticed that I am stuck with just the "saludos" and really no meat to the talk. I need someone that will carry the conversation for at least 10 minutes. How about someone here asking me a question and encourage me to answer in Spanish?

Dan-H24

Aurora: From my experiences Skyping with others I can offer this advice:

+ "Saludos" are a great place to start. My perception is that beginning a conversation with proper greetings and a bit of small talk is more important in many Spanish speaking cultures than it is here in the US.
+ Talk a bit about the weather.
+ Talk about food: likes, dislikes, cultural or ethnic foods, etc.
+ Ask about the person's interests. With luck you will find a common interest or two that you can talk about. Or the other person may express an interest that you find intriguing and you can ask about that.
+ Talk about a current event. The last time I talked with the teacher in Spain, something was mentioned about health care. So I asked about the system in Spain; we talked about it for 1/2 hour, I learned a lot, and told her about our "system" here in the US. She was stunned when I told her how much my ER visit and outpatient surgery cost last year for a finger injury. And how much I had to pay out of pocket.

Así que, el tiempo aquí en Roanoke está muy agradable hoy. Está cincuenta y cinco grados, y hace mucho sol. ¿Cómo esta el tiempo cuando tú posicción?

Steven-W15

Just to add to Dan's good comments, I recommend memorizing a repertoire of canned phrases you can pull out of the bag - particularly interjections to encourage the person you are talking with to keep talking. If my own experience is any guide, it doesn't matter how fluent you are, there will be days when your mind turns to mush and it's helpful to have something to fall back on. 
- De acuerdo
- Entiendo lo que estás diciendo
- Sé lo que quieres decir
- ¡No es posible!
- Claro


For me, the event / interaction takes priority over content (i.e., me understanding everything). I want the person in front of me to be at ease / enjoy talking with me. If I haven't followed details of a conversation and I get a sudden question, I also like to have a few mechanisms to turn it back / change the subject:
- ¿Qué opinas tú?
- Lo que no entiendo es...
- Sí, por supuesto, pero tengo una pregunta...
- Necesito que me aclares alguna cosa...


Of course, I do interrupt occasionally to ask for clarifications but hopefully not so often that the person becomes discouraged.

diranu

Steven,

I agree.  Having those spanish phrases at the tip of your english tongue are very handy.  I have only stuck a few away in my head for conversational starters and they work fabulously.  But I like your idea of having a few general statements available for a quick response during the conversation.  I am definitely going to work on those.  Thanks!
 

Steven-W15

Glad you found those helpful. I just came across another that I want to memorize in a video I'm watching:
- "No sé si me explico". I don't know if I am making myself clear (presente).
- "No sé si me he explicado bien". I don't know if I made myself clear (pasado).
 

diranu

I started a notebook today of those "go to phrases" that I'm going to put into practice in my daily conversations with my cats and husband.  I also started going thru McGraw Hill's "Spanish Conversation" book (after dusting off an inch of dust).  There are a lot of great ideas in it for certain situations.  I think I'll be making good use of that book.

Thanks for the additional phrases.  One could probably have a great conversation with a native speaker and not even no a whole lot of what was being said.  :P  But, at the same time, these phrases can be used as tools to figure out what is being said.

diranu

Hey Dan & Steven,

I wanted to give you a little heads up.  I've been cramming recently for a Spanish immersion camp that is coming up the end of July, so I knew I had to take the plunge into conversing on Skype.  I found this site and thought that you guys may be interested.  
www.ecuspanish.com
You get a trial free 30 minute lesson and then it's $10 per hour after that (super reasonable!!).  I did my trial with Carlos and it went pretty good.  I scheduled for an hour with Virginia.  Nothing ever came of that.  Apparently she was ill.  So I rescheduled with Carlos and had that lesson yesterday.  The first 1/2 hour was a little awkward but I think that's to be expected when you first meet someone and they are trying to figure out where you are in your learning.  Yesterday did go much better.  I will continue with Carlos but would still like to try one of the other 3 people that are available.  

Thanks for the encouragement here!  I'm glad I took the plunge.  As far as I have come in every other area in learning Spanish, my speaking is lagging FAR behind.
 

Dan-H24

Diane: please tell us about your Spanish immersion camp. I have been interested in doing one of those.
Dan

Steven-W15

Thanks, diranu. I just checked out the site and it looks really interesting. I think I'll give it a try.

diranu

This is the website for the Spanish Immersion Camp.
hunthill.org/experience-hunt-hill/spanish-immersion-camp/

Last year was my first time there.  I had a fantastic time!  It was a laid-back, busy schedule (if that makes sense).  It was organized very well.  They split everyone into 3 levels according to a multiple choice test that you did prior to camp.  You could change to any other level if you felt the need to.  I was put into the intermediate.  The other campers in my group told me I should try the advanced but I was afraid that I would just be bowled over and not get anything out of it.  I really felt like I got the biggest bang for my buck in the intermediate class.  I'm ready for that advanced class this year though!  :)
There was a lot of interaction among the campers and the instructors.  We all ate together.  There was early morning dance instruction if you wanted to go to it.  I think there were four hours of "class time" each day.  There were a few times each day that we had communal activities.  In the evenings they put on a movie in Spanish that you could watch if you wanted to, or go sit by the fire ring, chat, play musical instruments.  You basically made it for yourself whatever you wanted to get from it.  The instructors we had were absolutely fabulous.  The whole experience was very exhausting on the brain but extremely rewarding and tons of fun.  I wish that I could do the immersion camp more than one week a year.

diranu

Dan, 
Come on up to my beautiful state of Wisconsin for the Spanish camp.  It'd be great to meet you!

Dan-H24

Diane: it sounds great. Wisconsin is a beautiful state and I'd love to meet you too. I wouldn't have to wear green and gold would I??? I am allergic to those colors!

diranu

Claro que no!  No quiero que estés enfermo!  But, you might have to eat some cheese
curds!  :)  Yes.  Wisconsin is quite beautiful.  This camp is in the northern part of the state and it is just a great, peaceful place to get away from "it all".

I got an idea from youtube to video myself every day so I can critique and correct my Spanish afterward.  OH MY!!!   I didn't realize how poor it was until then. (okay…maybe I did) But, to give myself a little credit, I try to incorporate proper grammar, which isn't always at the tip of my tongue.  I think this will really be a great tool to utilize to try to improve my speaking skills.  And I'm sure the videos are going to be a great hoot to watch when I review them in a year or two.  :)



 

diranu

Steven,
Just wondering if you've tried an ecuspanish lesson yet?  If you haven't, wait just a bit.  I have a lesson scheduled for tomorrow morning but I've got some concerns regarding this particular site.  I'll know more tomorrow.
 

Steven-W15

Not yet. Thanks for the heads-up. I'll look forward to your follow-up.

diranu

Okay … my experience with ecuspanish thus far - I had a trial lesson w/ Carlos.  I scheduled a lesson w/ Virginia.  Virginia never showed.  I scheduled a lesson w/ Carlos and had that lesson.  He told me Virginia was ill and he would give me the credit back.  I received the credit.  So, up to this point I have paid for 2 credits and used one with Carlos.  I went to schedule another lesson w/ Carlos and his name was gone from the scheduler.  I wanted to get another lesson in before we left the wifi so I scheduled with Cecilia.  She never showed.  I've filed a dispute with Paypal for a $10 refund yesterday.  I also emailed Carlos this morning to refund me as Cecilia was a no-show.  
I don't think that the guy is scamming.  I think it's a matter of unreliable people.  Carlos was reliable but I don't think he's the best at teaching.  But, then again, it was only $10 and I felt I got that much out of it.  I have no other personal experience to compare him with but I did watch a youtube video of a guy with his first Skype tutor and she was quite better than Carlos.  I've concluded that paying $15 or $20 for a good quality lesson would a be better use of my time rather than $10 for an okay hour, but you  wouldn't know what the person is like until you've tried them.

Steven-W15

Thanks for sharing your experience. I will definitely pass on ecuspanish - my time is more valuable than that.

diranu

Sí.  Tienes razón.

Ava Dawn

This is so sad. I attended a birthday party last night. The celebrant is our Pastor from Argentina. The whole place is about 95% Mexicans. I saw this friend from 20 years ago and all I can remember is saying "Estoy aprendiendo Espanol (enye), after Buenas noches. I missed a very good opportunity to practice. We spoke in English the rest of the time.

Steven-W15

¡Animo, Aurora! A remember several weeks back one Skype session (conversation exchange) where I literally could not put two words together in Spanish. "Some days ya got it, some days you don't."

Also it's good to remember that it's really difficult to practice a language - particularly in social contexts like the one you described - where the person you're talking with speaks your mother tongue so fluently.
 

diranu

"Some days ya got it, some days you don't."   
So true!  

Dan-H24

Unas días comes el oso, unas días el oso te come.

Steven-W15

"Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you."
- Ryker, Star Trek

Yeah, I saw that episode too... :-)

Diana-dep1

All the posts here have encouraged me to try Skyping.  I have been very timid about speaking even thoughI have numerous opportunities where I live and work.  But I usually stop at the first few polite phrases.  I have been wanting to move on to speaking but have not been confident enough to do so.  After reading the ideas and experiences above, I will do it soon!

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