language meet-ups (non Duolingo)
I was curious as to whether anyone goes to any sort of language meet-up. If so, how often do you attend? How often are they held? Which language(s)?
I don't know of any sort of German language meet-up where I live. I do plan to contact a local college this fall and see if they are aware of any type which are in existence. I believe there is some sort of German-American club but I'm pretty sure they all speak English. I usually practice with Facebook friends or once in a while see a native speaker and have a chat.
For American Sign Language, there are LOTS of opportunities. I go to a monthly Deaf social which includes ASL students from a few colleges and high schools. A university about 30 miles away has ASL socials twice monthly. I'm not sure if Deaf club is still open - used to go to that also. There was another group who would also have monthly socials. But there are always a lot of opportunities to practice and socialize using ASL.
I know if I were studying Spanish, all I would have to do is go to one of the Hispanic restaurants or stores. I know someone who simply goes to his nearest Mexican store and the people are more than willing to help him with his Spanish.
I am one of those people who is very shy. I remember the first few times I went to a Deaf function I was scared to death and very, very nervous. But I had the best darned time when I do go. I met many vary encouraging individuals and was invited back by several people.
I used to go to a weekly ASL club meeting at a uni a couple of cities over. It would start at 5pm and officially end at 7. However, a group of us would often go from there to pizza and continue our voice off signing until 9-11ish. The school year ended, however, and both my ride and back up ride stopped attending. So, that was that.
I recently learned that there are a TON of people doing language meetups through Meetup.com. That's how I got a group together when I visited San Francisco last month. (Very important to research safety tips though!)
I've found that my language skill improvement skyrockets when I can very regularly converse with folks in my target language. :)
PS I am also very shy. (Nobody at Duoling will believe me lol). But, I find that when I am around other shy people, I become less shy as I try to encourage them to feel comfortable with me and with being themselves. :)
I'm the organizer of a Japanese-English meetup group (in Belgium). I started out being a regular member of the group and gradually became the organizer. Other members have become my friends and we hang out outside of meetups too. I organize a meetup once a month (more if I have time for it) and I attend most of the time. There are two co-organizers and if I really don't have time, they take over (if they don't forget about it!). Usually we do at least 30 minutes of Japanese and after that it becomes a mix of English (and other languages) and Japanese. Some people are only beginners so some of us help them with homework/exercises while others try to practise their Japanese. I've started charging (1€) for the meetup though, because the website is not free once you have a certain number of members.