¡Hola Beeston!

For most of us native English speakers we have it easy, we can travel to many worldwide destinations and get by in our own language. If you were born in Iceland, for example, you may be hard pressed to find someone abroad who even knows a few words of your native language.

For this reason, many of us don’t feel a need to pursue a level of proficiency in another language beyond a Grade C at GCSE level French, or beyond memorising an expression from an Italian phrase book, before realising that even if you can pronounce the phrase perfectly, you aren’t likely to understand their lightning-fast response!

Well, that was me, I studied Spanish and French in school but they were my worst and least favourite subjects! It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, when I started visiting Spain regularly, that the idea came to me that I would love to actually have a conversation with someone in their native language instead of my own! I also had dreams to travel to Latin America where knowing the language would be an obvious advantage.

After enrolling in evening classes, having three private tutors, listening to countless podcasts, and attending regular meetups, I had come to realise that learning a language was no easy feat. However, persistence pays off and I found it rewarding as I started to progress.

I believe one of the keys to success is enjoying the process through finding methods of learning that you enjoy. For me that has included face-to-face Spanish language groups. I had been attending one in the city centre for a couple of years until the pandemic hit and the group was put on hold.

A couple of years later, I had fallen out of practice, but a group popped up on Facebook for a different meetup in the centre of Beeston which had been started by an Italian girl. I started to attend and it helped me rekindle my love for the language. I found the people to be friendly, inclusive and the atmosphere relaxed and non-judgmental. This is why, when the previous organiser informed us, she would be leaving the country, I was happy to step in and take charge.

We’ve been meeting almost every Tuesday at 7pm at the Beeston Social for over a year now. The group is diverse in terms of different age ranges and nationalities. We speak in Spanish for most of the session which is great for improving our conversational skills. We welcome both Spanish learners and native Spanish speakers who want to socialise in their own language.

¡Nos Vemos Pronto!

JM