How to Get an Intercambio in Madrid

How To's / Where To's

by Amy Menchhofer

Whether you’re looking for a new friend or just good conversation, the intercambio is one of the most useful tools to help the expat assimilate to his new home (or to help any local to get away from it all). Luckily, it’s also a million times easier than finding an apartment. But where to start?

Make your first stop the forum at Notes from Spain. Find a post or place your own under the Intercambios/Pen Pals section and you’re sure to find others looking for the same — cyber or real. Other great resources are Loquo and craigslist. Most English language magazines available have a section dedicated to the hunt as well.

Be sure also to look into the various language nights offered throughout the city. Located in bars and bookshops and typically starting after dinner, they are the perfect chance to meet a conversation partner. (See details below.)

Remember also that intercambios are like doctors — you can find a really good one by referral. So ask around — at your language school, at the gym, among your friends, and their friends, and their friends’ friends. The intercambio “market” is ever increasing and within those seven degrees of separation you’ll certainly find a willing candidate.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The term “market” can be all too true as plenty of people looking for an “intercambio” are also looking for love. If that’s not your goal make it clear early on, so you and your friend are on the same page.
  • Intercambios are definitely not limited to “English and …”. Plenty of the aforementioned resources include people looking for a wide variety of languages, including French, Italian, German, Japanese, and even, on one recent Craig’s List posting, American Sign Language!

Now that you’ve found an intercambio, keep your eyes out for the coming post on how to be a good one.

More details:

Language exchanges:

O’Neills: C/ Principe, 12 Metro: Sol Tuesdays 22h.
Café Madrid: C/ Mesón de Paños, 6 Metro: Opera Wednesdays 21.30h.

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Comment from CARLOS
Date: March 5, 2008, 5:39 pm




Comment from Antoine
Date: March 19, 2008, 11:44 pm

Come to the Languages Exchanges Meeting Night(free),
every THURSDAY, from 9:30pm till 2am in Café Madrid,
calle Escalinata, Madrid (metro: Opera).
Ask for the languages exchanges meeting, or start
speaking to anybody asking them if they are from the

I put some pictures taken there on:
See you soon?