Want to practise spanish?


Spanish-speaking Hobart

One night, fifteen years ago, a group of entirely different people, started an Adult Education because they all shared the desire to learn Spanish. One night, a couple of them decided to go for a beer and practise, and so began Hobart’s Spanish-speaking group.

This Girl has been part of a Spanish-speaking group in Hobart since then. The fact this group has continued to meet all these years is just another thing that makes Hobart a great place.

Over the years, a whole lot of Spanish speakers have found us by word of mouth, including native speakers from various countries who joined us before they returned to their home land. But three members of the original class continue to meet every week over a glass of vino and we have some new members too.

Why we leant Spanish is different for each of us, but we all want to keep our skills up. We get together each week, to keep our hand in, chatting about whatever we are able to, and sometimes things we are not! When we don’t know a word we Google or use the vocabulary we have to describe what we want to say. Only minimal conversation skills are required.


If you’d like to join us, you can find us most Tuesday nights, 5.45 pm – 7.00 ish upstairs at The Alabama Hotel, Liverpool Street, Hobart.

Here’s what three of our members say about why they learnt Spanish and what they like about the group.


At school in Texas, it was compulsory to study a language. The presence
of Mexican students meant Spanish was the obvious language. Since starting Spanish, I have taken great joy in learning grammar, words and accents of the language.

A year ago, I was
having a drink with a friend and heard Spanish being spoken by people whose
first language was clearly not Spanish. I asked them who they were. When they
explained that they had been meeting for over a decade, and that they speak for
enjoyment and to remember the language, I was in!

I’ve had to work through anxiety with speaking Spanish for fear of being judged for my errors. Since coming to the group and practising with both
native and non-native speakers, and having an amazing and inclusive
time, I have seen that Spanish is just a language to be used, not to only be
spoken perfectly.

So for me, it has offered me a new group of friends, something to do on
a Tuesday evening, help to work through my anxiety, an outlet to maintain and improve my Spanish skills, and a unique opportunity to engage with people
of varying ages, ethnicities and interests. A more friendly, inclusive and fun
group could not possibly be conjured!


I learnt Spanish at TAFE between 1998 – 2000. Our teacher was German
Duarte and I really enjoyed the way he taught us. I decided to learn Spanish
because I felt ignorant only knowing how to speak English. I
especially felt like this after travelling to other countries and seeing or
meeting so many multi-lingual people. I chose Spanish because it sounds
beautiful, because many people in the world speak it and I am interested
in the cultures of Spanish-speaking people.

I have been coming to our conversation group for about 11 or 12
years. The group has encouraged me to practise speaking Spanish in a normal,
unstructured social setting as distinct from the way you might
practise speaking in the classroom.

It gives me the freedom to make mistakes and therefore learn from
them each time I practise speaking. It has been especially beneficial
when we’ve had native speakers in the group. Over the years I’ve met many
interesting people who’ve come and gone from the group – some of those
were people who lived in Hobart for a while and now live elsewhere.
I’ve never lived in a Spanish speaking country, so the group
enables me to keep practising my speaking skills and, at least, not
lose what I’ve learnt so far. I also appreciate the friendship I’ve enjoyed as
part of the group.

Hola!  Mi nombre es Felipe o lo es cuando hable español.

Empecé a aprender castellano en 1998 porque tuve ganas de ir a
Latinoamérica. Al fin de 1999 yo y otros estudiantes de español comenzamos a
reunirnos en un bar para conversar lo más posible con lo que habíamos aprendido
en las clases al Instituto de TAFE. En estos días no tenemos clases pero 14
años más tarde todavía nos reunimos para charlar.
Gracias a este grupo puedo manejar mis pocas palabras españolas para
exprimir mis ideas y deseos con una confianza que nunca he tenido en otros
idiomas extranjeros. Fui a América del sur en 2001 donde comuniqué con mucha
gente en una manera que hasta entonces nunca había logrado en varios
peregrinajes previos en países non inglés hablantes. Pude por primera vez
compartir sentimientos, pensamientos, humor con quien que fuera.

El viaje cumplido quise aprender más solo por el amor del idioma. Sin
curso universitario en Hobart intenté encontrar la inmersión en la lengua
española que muy pronto convierte a personas que no hablan castellano en
personas que lo hacen con fluidez. Con familia, hogar, trabajo e hipotético
aquí en Hobart no pude vivir el año necesario en un ambiente hispanohablante. En
lugar de eso escuchaba las noticias en la radio y la tele, leía periódicos,
luego libros, incluso en voz alta, y en esta manera ha aumentado mucho el vocabulario
que puedo reconocer. El grupo de conversación ha sido el sitio perfecto para
introducir poco a poco algunas palabras en mi hablar. Los otros me acusan de
crear neologismos, a veces con razón, pero equivocarse es nada mal sino el
temor de equivocarse es el enemigo de la comunicación.  Hay ellos quienes, a pesar de estudiar un
idioma durante años, casi no pueden decir nada por ganas de decir precisamente
lo que ellos dirían en inglés y las palabras les faltan. La conversación obliga
que se dice lo que se puede decir y no lo que se gustaría decir. Pierdo 20
puntos de coeficiente intelectual cuando hablo español pero ¡qué lindo es nadar
aunque se pueda caminar mucho más rápido!

Hablamos de lo usual – la política, las noticias, el trabajo, la comida,
nuestras familias y amigos, nuestras vacaciones, nuestros triunfos, nuestras
decepciones, lo que nos interesa, nos hace reír. Todavía hay tres socios
originales y dos más recientes. Un sin número de personas han participado en el
pasado. Gente australiana que habla mal o bien el castellano; también
canadienses, estadounidenses, brasileños, argentinos, chilenos, colombianos,
mexicanos; jóvenes, gente mayor. Personas tan diversas pero todas tuvieron en
común ser interesantes, simpáticas y tolerantes, con ganas de saber más que lo
que ocurre en su propios vida y hogar.

Somos muy pocos ahora y frecuentemente después de la salida de alguien
me he preguntado si este grupo no vaya a morirse, por lo menos como algo
semanal. ¡Zas! Vez y otra vez se apareció socio nuevo y el gato se levantó,
cojo, manco, tuerto pero todavía está vivo. Suerte que seamos australianos
porque – Siete vidas tiene un gato, dice la gente, al menos en España, en
Italia o en México porque en países anglosajones tienen dos vidas extra: nueve,
nada menos.

Nos reunimos cada martes a las seis en el Quarry, un bar y restaurant en
Salamanca muy cerca al parlamento. Siempre es un placer dar la bienvenida a
algún socio nuevo. Te espero.

Want and come and practice? Email us here or just turn up!

20 thoughts on “Want to practise spanish?

  1. Hola,
    Looks like this group is not active any more…. or is it?
    I would like to join such a group if it is still going – can someone please let me know if it is?
    thanks, Kati

  2. Hi,

    I am looking to refresh my conversation skills as I would like to go back to South America next year. Where and when do you met?

  3. Do you have any people joining who are just starting to learn Spanish or do you require a prerequisite level?

    1. Hi Christine
      I guess you have to be able to make a basic conversation. A lot of Spanglish is used however. Why don’t you join us and see how you feel? Best to email the day of to make sure we’re meeting. A few people are away on winter holidays at the moment!

  4. Hey there,

    I’m sixteen and recently returned from Valencia, Spain for a year long exchange. My level of Spanish is deteriorating as quickly as I acquired it and I hoping I can stop this before it’s too late! Does this group still run?


  5. Hi,

    Is this meetup still running? I’m looking to practice my Spanish in a casual conversation setting and this seems perfect.



    1. Yes Darcy, It’s the Alabama Hotel on Liverpool Street, Hobart, Tuesdays 5-6 pm. I’ll add you to our email list – we usually touch base each week to make sure there’s critical mass to attend.

  6. Hi, I’d like to be added to the email list. I’ve done 3 years of university Spanish but haven’t spoke it in about a year so I am very rusty! Would like to practise and meet some other Spanish speaking people.,


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