I have a small confession. I got so absorbed in the Language Exchange our teacher organised, that I completely forgot to take any photos, so you’ll have to take my word it actually happened.
For those who don’t know, a Language Exchange is basically a get together where people practice speaking a language they’re learning. In our case, we were paired with a pre-intermediate English class. As soon as our teacher announced this would be happening, my heart started pounding. If you haven’t noticed by now, I am a fairly nervous person and I really struggle with the vocal side of Italian. The other class walked in, and we were paired off. For the first 10 minutes we had to talk in Italian, then we flipped and spoke in English for 10.
Let me tell you, 10 minutes is a long time.
However, it was the best 10 minutes. Being put on the spot is never easy, but it really makes you push yourself. My partner was an incredibly lovely lady, and as she had always lived in Florence, there was a lot I could ask her about. I wasn’t speaking fluent Italian by any means, but we kept the conversation going for the entire time. Occasionally, I’d have to say words in English, but when it was her turn she did exactly the same. The whole point of the exercise was to show us that we can do it, and it allowed us to realise this in a comfortable space, rather than a pressurised situation, such as at supermarket till or restaurant.
If you’re looking to improve your own language skills, find a friend and give this a go!