I like to walk. It’s a great time to have some fresh air, exercise and see what is happening. I often meet visitors from other countries.
Sometimes they are backpacking or in town for work. Usually in a cafe or along the waterfront. We stop a while to chat. Sometimes they have a question about the area. If I see someone trying to locate their whereabouts on a map, I stop and offer my help.
A few years ago I went to live and work in Madrid.
I was quite nervous. No Spanish! Only a typical tourist idea of the country and culture; beaches, flamenco, tapas and the famous siesta.
I was so wrong! I was fascinated by the dignity and grace of the city. Not a beach to be seen. Yes, there was the famous siesta but not as I thought. It was the city’s busiest time of day. No time to sleep. After their ‘siesta’ many Madrileños continued working quite late. Much later than our traditional times of 9 to 5.
How do you adapt to a culture which is so different from your own?
You live it, breathe it and talk about it. So anytime!
I was very lucky. I found out that the Madrileños were happy to talk with an English speaker who could help them improve their conversation skills and correct them. They showed me around the city and shared their culture, language and customs. I listened and asked them questions. In exchange, they also learnt about New Zealand. They wanted to know more about a country that was so far away and why someone would leave their country and family to live in theirs. These topics became our ‘classroom material’. There was always lots to talk about!
My first Walk and Talk in Madrid was with an English beginner.
Well, actually we were both beginners. We had a hilarious afternoon walking around the city, visiting a museum and stopping to share vocabulary and write down an expression or two. It became a routine. Coffee or tapas were included as it was a way to practise. I remember being told no ice cream unless I asked for it in Spanish!
If you enjoy meeting people and sharing your culture Walk and Talk is an easy, enjoyable way to practise your new language.
If you are visiting Hawkes Bay or trying to settle into your new Kiwi culture, and want to practise your English, come and Walk and Talk with me.