Let’s MEETUP and speak a foreign language!
by Richard Strager
Have you considered practicing your language skills in a fun social setting by joining a MEETUP group? MEETUP events happen all over the Boston area, providing a chance to get to know people from all walks of life and from all over the world who like to speak French, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic or other languages.
My own MEETUP group—Voulez-vous Français—meets every other Friday in Porter Square, Cambridge. About 30 people show up each time to eat, drink and socialize in French. It’s a fun and casual francophone event, open to anyone who can speak French at an intermediate level or higher. We have a number of members who are native-French-speakers from all over the world, including Haiti, France, Canada, Belgium, Morocco, and Benin, but most of our members are non-native speakers from the U.S. like me. We meet in a bar (Tavern in the Square), but all ages are welcome to come and participate. It’s a nice way to meet new people and relax on a Friday night. We start at 6:30 p.m. and many people hang out until around 9:00 or sometimes later. Members pay $1.00 each time they come. On occasion, we organize other fun activities such as having a house party, dining out, going to a French movie, or attending cultural events together.
It is simple and free to join MEETUP. Just go to www.meetup.com to sign up and join any group you like. Once you become a member, you will be sent regular invitations to upcoming events and be asked to RSVP. Some groups might charge you a dollar or two each time you go (which helps to defray the costs that the organizer must pay to maintain the website), but many are free.
If you are at the beginner level in French, you might try joining the Boston French Language Meetup instead, which charges $3.00 per meeting, but accepts all levels. They meet at a pub in Central Square, Cambridge on Sunday afternoons and are open to all ages as well.
A wide variety of MEETUP language groups can be found in and around Boston. Here is a partial list:
- Boston Area Arabic Language Meetup
- Boston German Language Meetup
- Boston Spanish Language Meetup
- Lunedì Italiano Boston/Cambridge
- Boston Italian Language and Culture Meetup
- Boston Japanese and English Language Club
Keep in mind that some organizers will be open to creating events in your local area, if you show interest. And if you don’t find a language group you like, you may consider starting your own. That’s what I did.
Feel free to contact Professor Richard Strager (email@example.com) for further information. He has attended all of the groups listed above with the exception of Arabic, which he has just begun to learn this semester.