Il y a quelques semaines, j'avais été contacté par une "ambassadrice Couchsurfing monde" pour parler des rencontres cafés linguistiques. Elle m'avait posé plusieurs questions sur les cafés linguistiques, ce que cela apportait, comment ça se passait, etc...
Le résultat a été un article paru aujourd'hui sur le site Couchsurfing. Cet article en anglais montre également d'autres initiatives similaires à Happy People.
L'article est pas mal, surtout parce qu'il met en lien chaque groupe d'Happy People, même s'il ne nomme pas l'association...Tous les groupes ? Ils ont oublié Bourges!! Pourtant je leur en avait bien parlé! D'autant plus qu'Adrien, le responsable des rencontres HP à Bourges est aussi ambassadeur Couchsurfing à Bourges...
CouchSurfers are using language exchanges to connect across cultures.
What traveler wouldn't like to be just a little bit better at another language? When you're asking for directions, catching a movie, or making a new friend, you feel the rewards. But don't worry, it doesn't have to be just grammar worksheets on the way. CouchSurfers around the world are meeting up to practice their skills while enjoying connections with new friends.
Polyglots in the park at Paris' Tower of Babel event
photo: Frederic Raquil, RF Photographe
What kind of meeting would you like?
Language exchanges can take as many forms as there are groups to participate in them.
T0shi, a CouchSurfing city Ambassador for London, organizes monthly meetings for between 40 and 100 people. "I prepare stickers for each attendee when they sign up with 'yes / 100%.' You have your name and the languages you speak. It's not formal, and I don't provide language classes during the meeting. It gives you an opportunity to practice casually and socialize."
Warsowie, who arranges weekly meetups in Marrakech, agrees with the informal approach, but she likes to separate people into groups of people with "one language to share together and one to learn so there is one half hour in one language and one in the other."
Guy van den Biggelaar, who organizes meetups for around 20 people in Brussels, recommends playing organized games. He likes the popular party game 'Werewolf' or 'Mafia' (read the rules). It works to get people talking, he says, because it's "a game of accusations, lying, bluffing, second-guessing, and mob hysteria."
Cheers! in Brussels
photo: Guy van den Biggelaar
After setting up several exchanges during his travels, Laurent Juillard thinks that his ideal exchange is "formal, interesting and dynamic." He envisions the group paired off: a French person who wants to learn Portuguese paired with a Brazilian who wants to learn French, for example. Each pair would start with a formal language lesson, then a cooking class, and then chatting and socializing over the meal.
Vincent Sheideck organizes a large variety of language events both through CouchSurfing and through his own non-profit site, Polyglot Club. These can range from May's 350 person Tower of Babel event in Paris to small local meetings, but he's got some tips he sticks to in all cases. To begin with, "you have to say to people, 'don't be selfish, teach and learn 50% of the time." Also, "everyone stand up so that the interaction is better -- if you're seated, you'll only talk to your neighbors." And he reminds organizers that "people are generally shy. You have to welcome them as they enter and introduce people to each other."