Hola! Spanish Conversation Interest Group Takes Off
By Joan Axelrod-Contrada
Rachael Naismith was studying Spanish but felt the need for more practice. So, about a year ago, she put a notice on the NN listserve, and voila, the Northampton Neighbors Spanish Conversation Interest Group was born! Members meet via Zoom on Sunday evenings from 7 to 8 pm.
“It’s a lot of fun coming together, ” Naismith said. “Little by little, conversing an hour a week, you get to know each other.”
Made up mostly of intermediate-level Spanish speakers, the group ranges from advanced beginner to advanced. Some members had taken Spanish in college and wanted to get back to it to “keep their neurons firing.” Others have studied Spanish via an app such as Duolingo. Still others join because they’re interested in traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. Naismith, for example, recently visited Honduras to take part in a Spanish immersion class.
Each session begins with a check-in. Then the group discusses a theme of the week. Prior topics have included books, movies, interesting relatives, vacations, problems learning Spanish, and where you’d go, past or present, if you had a time machine.
Naismith decided that she’d want to go 45 years into the future to see how the planet and her grandchildren were doing. Another woman chose to go back in time to the days of Lawrence of Arabia. Rarely, during such conversations, does anyone lapse back into English.
On a typical Sunday evening, some seven to 10 members join the Zoom. If more arrive, Naismith organizes break-out rooms.
NN’s Spanish Conversation Interest Group is open to new members. Contact Naismith at firstname.lastname@example.org