Munich, the capital of Bavaria, and home of the famous Oktoberfest, is a beloved destination for both tourists and expats. It’s a vibrant city that offers great quality of life and career opportunities to foreigners, who flock to the city. In addition to housing some of the biggest names in German economy (like BMW and Allianz), Munich is also the gateway to the Alps that lie just a short drive from the city. Considering all of that, it’s no wonder that Munich houses a huge expat community.
Although English is widely spoken throughout Munich, taking German classes either at a language school or with a private teacher is much recommended. If you’ve already grasped the basics of German, it might also pay to drop by one of the many language exchange events in Munich to advance your speaking skills, make friends, and simply spend a lovely evening.
One of the best groups that offers regular language exchange events in Munich is the München Conversation Exchange Meetup group.
München Conversation Exchange group was started more than two years ago, and has grown to be one of the biggest and most active Meetup groups in Munich that focus on organising language exchange events. It was first started by a bilingual English and Spanish speaker with the aim of uniting foreigners in the city who are looking to improve their German.
By today, its membership has grown to almost 2,000 people, and regular meetings are held which allow participants to practice their German, English, and Spanish speaking skills. Sometimes, a special French-German language exchange event is organised. The group welcomes all levels and nationalities, with the only requirement being that you should want to advance your language skills.
The most regular event they organise is called “Conversation Exchange: Español-Deutsch-English” which takes place around twice a month. During that event, everybody spends around 45 minutes getting their German practice and then switches to their choice of either English or Spanish. For English or Spanish practice the big group separates to 3-4 smaller ones.
The easiest way to get there is to take the metro to Odeonsplatz and the coffee shop will be a stone’s throw away.
The conversation exchange events are not regularly scheduled, so to find out the exact dates when the next meeting will take place, you should keep an eye on the group’s event calendar. It’s safe to say that you should have the chance to improve your German, English, or Spanish skills around every two weeks.
The starting times for the events depend on whether they’re taking place on the weekend or during the workweek. On Saturdays and Sundays, the conversation exchange tends to start either late morning (around 11 am), or late afternoon (around 4 pm). During the workweek, the group gathers in the evening, with a usual start of around 6-7pm.
This is a great way to get German speaking practice in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. If you happen to be learning any of the other languages – English, Spanish, or French – then you’ll even be able to get twice the practice time. Or, if you’re feeling like a good samaritan, you can just show up to offer the other participants a chance to practice on you!
In addition, there is no charge for taking part in the conversation group. You simply need to pay for your own drink or pastry at the coffee shop.
Photo credit: München Conversation Exchange photo album.