Managing Emotions in Intercambios
Language exchanges are great fun but full of emotional dangers. Outside of the classroom there is only the rule of decent human behaviour to depend upon. What is decent behaviour? Valuing “freedom of expression” is essential. Misunderstandings caused by language errors are part of the fun! But thoughtless behaviour, especially interpreting what is said simply to your own advantage, will cause exchange failures.
Language exchanges or intercambios do have an inevitable lifespan or “shelf life”. Two people will decide to meet regularly to practice a language and then discover mutual areas of interest. But inevitably at some time in the future you will make a decision to end these meetings. If you used this time together to discover shared interests, friendships will last your lifetime by occasional communications.
The slogan “Do no harm!” suits intercambios. Caution is required when an exchange partner is married or dating someone. The possibility of emotional conflict is very real because time is typically spent talking about everyday life. Walks in the countryside or visiting museums may inspire those confidences and heightened emotions usually felt between lovers. It provides you with the challenge to discover true strength of character. Respect your fellow human being and you win a long-term friend. Be honest with yourself. If you feel you cannot easily manage emotions, only arrange intercambios with single people.
Try to avoid alcohol at the beginning of a new intercambio. Your aim is to arrange regular meetings and so avoid hurrying to find special bonds. If something more than friendship is sought, talk freely but be cautious in action. Beginning intimate relations with exchange partners may only spoil everything you have achieved together. Remember most successful intercambios will end with a cooling-off period. New found friends deserve your best wishes when deciding to end regular meetings. Keep your confidence and start a new one.
British English Intercambio Links
An intercambio in English is defined as a free exchange of equal time value between adult learners. The origin of use comes from Spanish universities, where notices offering intercambios were placed on noticeboards. Visiting English speakers to Spain saw them & phoned to meet-up. In American English, intercambio refers to an educational exchange for children organised by institutes. An example of this alternative is presented in the last two links below.
The best definition is that of informal agreements between adults to swap English for Spanish. However new communications & the popularity of Skype Language Partners changes how the British can now get conversation practice in Spanish. So it remains to be seen if INTERCAMBIO will make the transition from university corkboards to the Internet. So I am selling.
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