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Xchanges

About us

About Us

Back in 2013, a few friends and I (Harry) held the first Leeds Language Exchange in a bar at Leeds University students’ Union. 

I’d just returned from Spain and wanted to create a space where myself and others could practise speaking foreign languages freely, and in a welcoming, friendly environment. 

This is still the idea which provides the motivation for our meetups, our charity work, and this website. Read our full story below, and also check out a recent radio interview on BBC Leeds with our Leeds Organiser, Rhea, here.

 

Leeds Language Exchange

We advertised the first meetup in 2013 only on Couchsurfing and a total of 4 people turned up – success!

Since then the Leeds Language Exchange has not stopped, going from monthly meetups to it’s current format of meeting every week. We have also helped others set up a weekly Spanish/English intercambio in Leeds, and our Refugee Conversation Club (see below).

Charity Work

In 2015 with the refugee crisis hitting the news Harry and some other local teachers formed the Leeds Refugee Conversation Club – a free weekly meetup for refugees who wanted to improve their English. This is volunteer led, with no paid staff. However as many refugees and asylum seekers are living on a very tight budget, we decided to pay for their bus tickets to our meeting place – Mill Hill Chapel in Leeds city centre.

Leeds Language Exchange started asking for a £1 donation from attendees to our meetups to cover the costs of the Refugee Conversation Club, and we have so far raised over £5000 to help asylum seekers and refugees travel to get to our events and improve their English.

The Refugee Conversation Club has been running every week since it started, and has now expanded to include free food and drinks, dedicated English lessons, and a craft workshop – it continues to be organised and run entirely by volunteers.

http://www.millhillchapel.org/events/conversation-club/

New Language Exchanges

In 2018 we took over the Manchester Language Exchange meetup.com group which had been dormant for two years, and with the help of our Manchester organiser, Isabella, we restarted their monthly language exchange meetups, getting over 100 attendees for some events!

Later that year, with the help of Sarah, Kad and Jaye we started the weekly Sheffield Language Exchange, which is still going strong to this day.

 

Website Launch

Late in 2018 we launched languagexchanges.com to provide an online database of services which may be useful to language learners. So far we offer private lessons, language learning holidays and multi-lingual jobs. Hopefully there will be more to come in 2020!

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