Although Granada might be a smaller city compared to Seville or Madrid, it’s definitely a vibrant one filled with strangers that are just friends you just have not yet met. Like a typical college town, Granada offers many opportunities for international students studying abroad to meet the often warm, friendly locals. For those especially looking to progress on their Spanish-speaking skills, thankfully there is a wide selection of organized language exchanges, also known as intercambios, which take place regularly every week, usually located in open bars and pubs all sides of the city. These free-to-the-public events succeed in attracting young locals eager to practice their English, which make them great way to not only improve your Spanish but also make some new friends with a different mother tongue than your own.
During my time in Granada, I have consistently attended three different intercambio events held weekly in locations dispersed in distant parts of the city’s center. By participating in regularly in these language exchange nights, I found my Spanish improving and my network expanding as I engaged in deep, interesting conversations in both English and Spanish one-on-one or within a small, causal group. Read on for more details on these events to see how you might be able to meet more locals in Granada:
18001, Plaza de San Agustín, 2, 18001 Granada
Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m.
Every Wednesday night starting at 8:30 p.m., Pub Entresuelo, located close to the Granada Cathedral, hosts a language exchange night facilitated by a language teacher. Once inside, attendees are separated off into groups based on their native language and the language(s) they would like to practice. Since there are typically more Spaniards than English-speaking international students, there are usually 3 to 5 Spanish locals to 1 to 2 English-speakers at each table decorated with loose-sleeve paper and a pen. The heavier Spanish crowd definitely makes it easy to make new local friends in this relaxed environment!
The intercambio session is timed, giving about 45 minutes for each language before switching to the other; however, the members of each group have the freedom to make the switch when they choose. Although normally Spanish-to-English, depending on the needs of the audience, there may be exchange opportunities for French, German, Portuguese or Italian as well. What I enjoyed most about the intercambios at Entresuelo is its organization and the regular audience it attracts. By seeing the same people almost each week, I have been able to build stable friendships with locals while also enjoying the company of new faces from around the world.
2. Coco’s Bar & Tapas
Calle San Matías, 4, 18009 Granada
Tuesdays, 9:30 – 11:00 p.m.
The Tuesday language exchange nights at Coco’s Bar, located near the Plaza de Mariana Pineda, are organized through Glosia, a local language school in Granada starting at 9:30 p.m. The exchanges are facilitated by two English teachers, one from the US and the other from England, with a host of experience. Under Coco’s vibrant environment, the facilitators are able to direct you to in which group you should be based on the language you would like to practice. In addition to the variety of drinks and tapas available, the intercambios with Glosia are also known for their trivia night events, which happens on the first Tuesday of every month.
This night of language exchanges attracts a diverse crowd of between 25 to 40 people with more Spaniards than those from English-speaking countries, which makes it another great opportunity to meet more locals while building upon established language skills. Although less structured than other types of exchanges, attendees are free to choose how to conduct the exchange and for how long for each language. What I enjoyed most about this intercambio event is the conversations I have shared with the other attendees and getting to know a more varied audience in an electrifying environment.
Wanderlust Café Pub
Calle Buensuceso, 5, 18002 Granada
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 8 p.m.
Wanderlust Café Pub, a new hangout site located close to the Plaza de la Trinidad, offers language and cultural exchanges every Tuesday and Thursday starting at 8 p.m. The pub’s owner, a native Granadina and Spanish teacher in England for almost 5 years, is proud to open up space for Spaniards and non-Spaniards alike to engage in rich conversation and take part in intercambios. The spacious, roomy atmosphere vibrated gently by popular, catchy tunes creates a fun and comfortable ambience for these types of exchanges to take place.
During the language and cultural exchange night, attendees normally come together in one group to discuss among each other, though it is possible to break off into smaller, more intimate groups. The owner often joins to facilitate the exchange and join in while everyone is engaged, enjoying their drinks and the taste of good conversation. On certain occasions, these exchanges nights might be complemented by certain special activities the pub hosts, which only adds to the fun! What I have enjoyed the most about the intercambios at Wanderlust is the home-like comfortable environment I found, stimulated by deep conversations and surrounded by good people and Spanish locals.
Although there are a ton of other exchanges nights out, these options listed provide a great start to finding local, life-changing friends to master Spanish with while studying abroad in Granada.
The world awaits…discover it.