Never before in the history of Humanity have we travelled this much. Technology, modern ways of transportation and the sharing economy changed forever the way we move around the globe and how we contact with each other. Today, you can hop on a plane and wake up tomorrow anywhere in the world, from Barcelona to Taipei, book a hotel while your flight doesn’t depart and call anyone as soon as land.
But the ease with which we can book travels isn’t the only thing that changed. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to meet locals: you can couch surf your way through a whole country, share car rides or even a home. And, of course, you can arrange tours and authentic experiences with locals. Like a Local, With Locals and AirBnb are three of the most well-known platforms to find new experiences and blend yourself with the natives.
How to meet with locals to practice the language
The greatest promise of these experiences is getting to explore a little further the “local” way of living and go beyond what’s on the tour guides. For any Spanish student, this is a way to engage with the culture they have been studying and, we like to think, an encouragement to continue. Besides, the fact that visitors are interested in our culture is a way to keep it alive - otherwise, in the sea of tourism that we’ve been experiencing, many of our traditions would be on the verge of extinction, replaced by well known coffeehouses and foreign brands.
However, for a student, these experiences should be more than an opportunity to experience the local culture. It’s simple to understand why: where can they practice or immerse themselves in the language better than in the place where it is spoken, breathed and cherished as a national patrimony?
If you’re studying Spanish and Latin America, use these tours to talk with the people, to notice their gestures when they speak, to learn colloquialisms and even cursing words! You won’t regret it.