We all know that the best way to learn Spanish is to speak with a local, but sometimes we just don’t have time to meet a stranger for a one-to-one intercambio de idiomas or to go to one of the various language exchange mixers around Madrid. Or maybe the idea of having to make small talk for an hour is exhausting.
Verbling solves those problems by connecting you to Spanish speakers who want to learn English in time-limited video chats.
Once you sign up on their website, you’re immediately paired up with a native Spanish speaker and given topics for discussion to help kick off the conversation. This means you can skip the awkward, “So… what do you do for a living?” and jump right into a real conversation.
You’re initially given ten minutes: five minutes in each language. One timer for English and the other for Spanish appear above the webcam video so you can keep track of how much time you have to talk in one language before switching to the other.
If you want to extend your time with your language partner, you can request an additional ten minutes, provided that the other party accepts. If not, you’ll be matched up with another native speaker as soon as the ten minutes is up.
The timed sessions are great, especially since it makes it really easy to end a session if you don’t click with the person you’re talking to. In real life, you’d probably have to sit through 1-2 hours, which is not only annoying, but demotivating.
So if you don’t have the time, energy or willpower to seek out an intercambio buddy, head over to Verbling and start talking.
UPDATE: OCT 24, 2012 Verbling has just released Verbling Friends, a new feature that lets you stay in touch and reconnect with the Spanish native speakers you practice with on their site.
I've been living in Madrid since 2007, married to a madrileño since 2008, and mom to our son since 2011. Tech is my thing. I love salmorejo, matrimonios and cazón adobado. I don't watch football.