Seoul, one of the world’s largest cities, and the capital of South Korea has been charming expats for years. A high standard of living and plentiful professional opportunities have had people flocking into this huge metropolis, making it also one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. With over 10 million people in the city, and 25 million in the larger metropolitan area, Seoul will provide you plentiful opportunities of putting yourself and your language skills to the test.
If you’re looking to make some new friends, find out more about your new home, and practice languages while you’re at it, there’s no better place than the Language Exchange Cafe to turn to.
Seoul’s Language Exchange Cafe is a huge Meetup group that brings together locals and foreigners alike in weekly language exchange events. These events tend to be extremely popular and well-visited, so if you’re trying to find a practice partner for your target language (whatever that might be), you are likely to find one at their events.
This group has the distinction of being the biggest Meetup group in South Korea, with over 17,000 members. Luckily, they organise regular events in the various districts in Seoul which means you probably won’t have to go too far to find one close to you.
This group runs regular events in four of the major districts in Seoul – Hongdae, Gangnam, Hyehwa, and Sinchon. The venues for their events tend to be either coffee shops or lounge bars.
In Hongdae, the meeting point for the weekday meetups is the Playground Rooftop Café and Bar, on Saturday and Sunday, you need to visit Café Route 9. In Gangnam, you can find the meetups at the Concert Lounge, alternatively, you can head to dal.komm Coffee to take part in the events in Hyehwa, or visit Yaletown Burgers and Bar in Sinchon.
Since their events are so popular, the venues for the language exchanges are usually reserved fully for the duration of the meetup, so you will not have any trouble with finding the right group to join. Just head to your chosen location when the events take place, meet people, and practice your conversation skills.
This group organises language exchange events every day of the week, so if you are very enthusiastic, you will have ample of opportunity for practice. This is doubly true if you live in either Hongdae or Gangnam.
You can visit a language exchange event every day of the week if you live in Hongdae. Just make note of the different location for the weekend events. But, other than that, you can go to the Playground Rooftop Bar every weekday at 7pm, and to Route 9 Café on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm, and will be able to take part in a language exchange event. Things are almost as good in Gangnam, where the only day without an organised event is Friday. On all other days, you can also find an event taking place at the Concert Lounge – weekdays at 7pm and 3pm on weekends.
If you are based in Hyehwa or Sincheon, you will have to get by with only one conversation practice event a week, though. Mondays at 7pm, there’s an event in Sincheon, and on Sundays at 7pm, you can find one taking place in Hyehwa.
As always, the best way to keep track of the upcoming events and their locations is to check out the group’s upcoming events calendar.
This group offers a fantastically regular and frequent chance to improve your conversational skills. The main languages you can expect to practice, are Korean, Japanese, English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian but the group accepts all languages – the main obstacle is finding someone to practice with. Most of the events are also free, or for a symbolic charge for the venue – around 10,000 KRW – and, for that you also get a free drink with a refill.
Photo credit: Language Exchange Cafe photo album.