Another thing that I've been meaning to do for the last 5 months but haven't gotten around to until this break is checking out some of the language exchange groups. Facebook, Vcontact, couchsurfing, and Meetup.com are just a few of the sites that host forums or pages for these language groups. You can find ones for Russian only, English only, Russian-English exchange, or ya know, other languages not aforementioned.
The first one I checked out is the Moscow language exchange group that meets
Sundays from 6-11 at the Hard Rock Cafe
This event location was huge! And the event usually boasts around 200 attendees, from what I've heard. On the third floor of the restaurant you can find a long row of tables that make a candy cane shape around the bar. Flags fly around some of the tables, letting know you know which table to congregate around for which language. I saw English, Russian, Spanish, German, and French flags, but there were pockets of even more languages hanging around.
In fact, I saw two Japanese people almost immediately upon walking in. After grabbing a drink from the bar, I swung back around the bar and introduced myself to them. I was hesitant about doing this because I am shy and also because they were slightly separated from the rest of the event. "There's a possibility I'm just interrupting these people's dinner, but let's give it a go!" Bracing myself, I made the first move and I'm glad I did! They were as eager to talk to new people as I was, and we got to practice both Japanese and English together. Later, a flight attendant from Kazan joined us and our conversation became a hilarious mash of Japanese, Russian, and English.
High off of the multicultural success from the night before, I tried out a second group on Monday.
The group Davai Po-Russki meets on Mondays from 7-11 at a bar called Apartment 44 near Tretyakovskaya metro.
It was a decidedly smaller, more intimate, slightly more eclectic group of people. As the name of the group implies, Russian is supposed to be the lingua franca of the evening. Oddly enough, it was some of the foreign attendees who were the real sticklers about this point. I slipped and spoke English quite a bit, but it was good Russian practice nonetheless!
What language exchange group should I check out next? If you have any suggestions or opinions, leave 'em in a comment! Sharing is caring.