Learning a language from a textbook can be discouraging. How are you supposed to know how to pronounce something? YouTube videos only teach you one word at a time. It’s best to learn from native speakers. Right? But that can be hard to find. Well problem solved. Franglish has come to the Bay Area.

I received an email from Franglish a few months ago, inviting me to attend its San Francisco class. I was excited. Franglish brings together native English speakers and pairs them with either native French or Spanish speakers. Each pair chats for about 14 minutes; 7 minutes in English and 7 minutes in French or Spanish. In this environment, you learn through conversation. Then you rotate to a different  partner. So it’s like speed dating without the awkwardness.

Nick and I finally had a free Wednesday evening and attended the class the day before Thanksgiving. We walked into Bissap Boabab (oh yeah they have the events at local bars), was greeted by the coordinator and then we grabbed a drink. Because it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving there were less people than they expected but we didn’t mind. Nick and I were put into a group of three.

For the first half hour we got to speak with a Colombian. We discussed places in Colombia that he suggested we visit, his move to California,what to do in San Francisco. All in while going back and forth between English and Spanish.

For the second half hour we got to speak with a Venezuelan cook. We chatted about his move, working in San Francisco, and relationships, again, all while going back and forth between English and Spanish

With both speakers, I was really shy and very self conscious (still am) about my Spanish. I had to take speech class when I was younger because I couldn’t say my ‘r’s’ and ‘sp’ correctly. But these guys were encouraging. No judgement. Just strangers trying to help each other out.

Give Franglish a try. We even made a new friend out of it. Worse case scenario you don’t learn a new language but you make a friend. Not bad.

Hugs and Smiles,