It can be hard to set an example and practice Englsih at the same, but with dedication you can pull it off!
Over my 14 years in this city I’ve moved on from language exchange evenings at a pub on calle Principe – still going on and run by the same volunteers I met when I was new to Madrid all those years ago to my more recent involvement with British Scouting Overseas here in Madrid. The fact is, there is a wealth of opportunities for international and Spanish individuals/ families to get involved in community or social activities where English is spoken. What is stopping you?
On the 11th of September 2014 the British Benevolent Fund is organizing a summer fete to be hosted by St George’s church. It will be the first time English-speaking volunteers can meet and find out more about the various initiatives being run in Madrid. It hopes to serves two purposes: helping us all to get to know each other and helping us to reach out to new members. As Kim Stollard from the British Benevolent Fund explained recently, “the problem about Brits living in Madrid is that we have integrated so much into our adopted society that we don’t have a defined ex-pat identity. Furthermore, most of the people we know and with whom we speak in English are not Brits or Americans or Canadian or Australian. English is the common language for lots of foreigners living in Madrid, among who are those who carry out volunteer work and those who require support from time to time”.
Bilingual families would do well to pencil the event into their diaries. We all know that children feel much happier speaking a foreign language when they aren’t forced to do so and when it is seen as something completely natural and fun. Mariana Lombarda from Sinews explains that children are “less unwilling to speak a second language when it is a chore that they can share and enjoy with their parents, whether or not their parents actually speak the foreign language in question”. My idea is that you come to the fete and find out what volunteer or social activities are on offer so that you can have fun, do good and practice English all at the same time! From the British Ladies charity shop to the multiple sporting activities ( rugby, hiking, football, cricket etc) to an English-language children’s choir, the fact is that there are activities for all ages and all interests in Madrid.
I hope to see you all at the fete on the 11th of September. I’ll be popping between two stalls: First Madrid British Scout troop and Gospel Kids Connection.
Until then, have a wonderful summer!