For many people in the Spanish speaking study abroad world, “intercambio” means a semester abroad in another country. Literally, the word means “exchange or swap.” For us here at Casa HOY, we use the term “intercambio” as a cultural exchange- a chance to meet and spent quality time with someone from another country or culture.
Part of HOY philosophy lies in the belief that travel opens your eyes to new possibilities, experiences and ideas. We believe that travel is a force that can, in very little time, inspire you, challenge you and change you. Our job at Casa HOY is to link you to the community- to involve you in aspects of the community that you cannot usually experience as a tourist. Our “intercambio” program goes hand in hand with the volunteer work you do, giving you a chance to interact with people closer to your own age over a coffee, smoothie or drinks.
Your “intercambio” can have a language focus, spending half an hour in English, half an hour in Spanish, or a cultural focus, speaking in whatever language you feel comfortable in. Be prepared with some conversational topics for your “intercambio.” Although we have our Mexican participants listed with their English language ability, that doesn’t cover shyness, accent differences or first time jitters. Good topics include: education, food, music, places to visit, holidays, family, hobbies, sports, movies, technology, language, etc. Remember that communication is a two way street. Don’t be shy!
Places to go for your “intercambio.” The best place for a first time meeting is one of four popular cafes downtown: La Punta del Cielo, my favorite, for coffee, next to the Farmacia del Ahorro, across from the Plazuela bars and on the same street as the Cathedral; Café Alondra, in front of the cathedral, exotic smoothies and traditional Mexican food; Café El Gringo, on a street perpendicular to the Cathedral, one street down from Morelos, same offerings as Alondra; Bon’s Café, on Comonfort, perpendicular to the Cathedral, yummy salads and sandwiches.
Our latest “intercambio” matches have formed immediate friendships, and created the opportunity for traveling around other places besides Morelos. Through “intercambio” you might make a friend that will invite you to their house for dinner, to a party with close friends, or even to a wedding!