Make Friends and Talk with Native Speakers


In this episode I prepare you for talking with native speakers. I mention groups such as or which can help you with speaking English face to face with native speakers. I also share my experiences with my meetups in Melbourne and Santiago.


You are listening to English Made Simple, this is episode 26. Numero 26.

Welcome everyone, my name is Milena. Welcome to English Made Simple. Learn to speak English better than Donald Trump so let’s “make English Made Simple great again!” Haha He stole my slogan. Bloody hell!

Guys, in my last episode we learnt about acronyms, hopefully you learnt something new. Uhm, I mentioned that WTH was my favourite acronym, in my last episode. Well, it’s not. It’s not true. My favourite acronyms are LOL, Laugh Out Loud and WTF, F for Frodo haha I cannot say it because of iTunes, I cannot say this word, but I will just spell it for you, F U C K. You can look it up in the dictionary!
Great, awesome!

It’s time to be a lady Milena, como una dama.

So, before we begin this episode, I’d like to say a special hello my fans Chilenos, from Chile.
Hole Maximiliano from Santiago, Maximiliano, hopefully I said that correctly, maybe I should say hola Maxi for short, Martín from Linares. Hola guys!

Nicolás from Washington DC, are you voting this year? I wonder what will happen there, hmm…

Hola to Paola as well, what a nice name Paola!

Thank you all for your kind words and I am really excited you are enjoying the show!! This is proof that it’s not just my family listening to English Made Simple, it’s the whole world is listening yeey!

Well, let’s get on with this show.

In this episode I want to share some cool tips on what you can do to practise speaking English. How can you practise English face to face with a native speaker? This is the most difficult part when learning a new language, not just English by the way, this is the hardest part I think. speaking is the hardest skill to learn I think so It was the hardest thing when I was learning Spanish.

Yeah, I had to learn to speak Spanish, not just read books and watch telenovelas haha

Let’s assume you know the basic grammar, you have some basic vocabulary, you are now able to talk ABOUT yourself (well I hope you are able to talk about yourself, if you are not able to talk about yourself then go back to episode 24, learn how to talk about yourself!), now it’s time you go out in the real world and talk to some native speakers. Yey!

In this episode, I also want to teach you how to ask questions? Especially when you go out and meet new people, personas desconocidas, or extraños. Ok
I want to teach you how to ASK questions, we don’t say make questions or do questions,in Spanish it’s preguntar/hacer una pregunta, in English we ASK a QUESTION

Great, hopefully that makes sense! We Ask Questions.

Now, where can you go to practise speaking English?? You could probably do it online on the Internet, but you can also do it in person, face to face. I will share some examples from my own experience when I was learning Spanish, but you can also apply the same for English.

So, let’s begin!

Some things you can do to practise English, if you are living overseas, if you are living in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, and UK, if you are living in these countries and you are learning English, you can do some volunteering, you can go to music festivals, sports festivals, theatres and you can volunteer in those places, and you can meet new people and also practise speaking, ok.
Also what you can do in those countries, you can find groups with common interests or hobbies, for example, running, cooking groups, trekking groups. You can join those and meet new people and practise speaking as well.

Now if you are not living currently in any of the English speaking countries, if you are in your native country, you can join a meetup group, You can also go to
I used to go to internations and meetup, in Melbourne and in Chile, in Santiago.

So you can join or

So, I want to focus on groups like meetup and internations because you can join them in any country, if you are travelling at the moment, you can find a meetup in any country. That is the whole idea of It’s actually a cheap place to practise the language, barato, sometimes it’s free, it depends, but sometimes you have to pay, $5 or $10 I am not sure, I think I paid CLP$1000 in Santiago.

The great thing about meetup is that you can find different groups on the site.

The ones I recommend for you guys is …usually they are called English/Spanish intercambio, or English/Spanish exchange. It’s a great opportunity to speak with native speakers, because native speaker, the English speakers they are…. travelling everywhere and they want to meet new people, and they are very happy to talk to locals, and they are very happy to practise their Spanish with the locals, so if you want to learn English and they also want to learn Spanish… that’s why it’s called an Exchange.
I know that….maybe you are feeling nervous when you meet new people, you don’t know what to expect. I know from my experience yeah I felt nervous at my first meetup, of course I went with a friend so I couldn’t go by myself, I went with my friend, I was a little bit shy to talk to new people, so it’s best if you go with a friend if you feel a little bit nervous but once you get experienced in going to meetups you can just go by yourself and it just becomes really natural to start talking to people.

And you gain some new social skills, you are able to talk to people, ask questions, and it becomes repetitive and you learn that way, ok. You start learning quicker when you start talking and you are repeating yourself sometimes.

So I recommend going to meetups in your local country, so if you are in Santiago, if you are in Buenos Aires….if you are in any other city, I can’t think hehe if you are in Melbourne, in Sydney, there are meetups happening all over the world and you just go and find your local meetup.

So let’s see, what happens when you do go to a meetup. Ok you can when you go with your friend…. You don’t have to join the meetup straight away you can have a drink with your friend and just observe and see what kind of people are there, if you are little bit scared, and you are not feeling ok, you know, you can just observe and see what it is like at the meetup. But usually people are really friendly and as soon as you get to a meetup they will invite you to join them and you sit and you talk.

When I went to Santiago, in Shamrock Irish Bar (Manuel Montt), I joined this meetup for half an hour you speak in Spanish and the other half hour you start speaking English. So it was…so you switch from one language to another, so you have a little bit of a break. It’s not (that) continuously you speak in Spanish or continuously you speak in English. Ok, so you have to give yourself a break…a mental break. So… I like the way they did it. So you speak half an hour in English and half an hour in Spanish, and that’s what usually happens at the meetup.

So let’s say you do make it to the meetup and you finally sit down and you get to talk to people. You have to be prepared to ask questions to break the ice, romper el hielo.

You have to break the ice with some questions.

Here is what typically happens, ok. I am going to give you examples of questions that you can ask other people that you meet. First of all, you can say.

1. What is your name?
2. Where are you from? De donde eres? Where are you from, another way to ask is….
3. Where do you come from? Where do you come from, where are you from, are the same thing! And then you can ask….
4. Is this your first time here at the meetup?
5. Do you know the organiser of the meetup, do you know who he is?
6. What do you do? Qué haces? What is your profession?
7. What company do you work for? OK haha there is too many questions, but obviously I am giving you some ideas. Obviously, there is a logical order to this so I am just giving you examples.
8. Another question you could ask is ….How old are you? But you know, don’t ask a girl how old she is. ok.
9. What I like to ask is: Are you rich? How much money do you have? Eres rico? What car do you drive? Where do you live? You know, I like to ask in that order. Haha No that’s not true. Ok, One more tip!
10. Ask open ended questions – what this means is ask questions (uhmmm) that require a longer responses, not just Yes/No types of responses. You can ask your new friends, you know, tell me what do you think about Santiago? What do you think about Melbourne? Or whichever country you happen to be in.

So, ask them about their experience. Now guys, remember! They will ask you the same questions!

So prepare answers to these questions – they are the most common ones (except the Are you rich? Haha) That’s just me being stupid.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you are not sure about certain words, you can always say \, sorry how do you say this in English…ok cerveza.. How do you say this in English?

But don’t laugh at and make fun of other people when they make a mistake, ok It’s not nice, c’mon guys, it’s not nice.

Go to the meetup with the right mindset, be respectful, don’t do crazy things, don’t start arguing and start fighting (pelear), I am just speaking from my own experience as I said before.

There are weirdos too at the meetup, gente rara – weird people, freeaaaaks, gente loca! I don’t know why I always attract those, they never shut up and they talk about boring stuff, not interesting stuff at all. When you meet one of those you have to learn how to excuse yourself… you need an exit strategy. For example, to save yourself you know just say oh sorry, excuse me, where abouts are the toilets? Where is the toilet? Ok, and to be extra polite you can say instead of saying toilet in English we say loo. L-O-O. Where is the loo? Or Where abouts are the loos? We say this in a very informal way.

Here is a bit of history trivia for you guys: The origin of the word loo for toilet, actually happened before the 1940’s, it used to be called Waterloo. Waterloo was the brand of toilet cisterns (estanque del baño) ok, see how smart I am! I used Google to find out why we say loo! Haha excellent!

So I hope this helps guys!

So, just to sum up, attending meetups with help you gain social skills and it will also help you be a good listener as well. It will help you with your confidence, hey and you also might meet new friends!!
Ok, alright guys. We are approaching the end of the episode. Hope you enjoyed this one, until next time! Hasta la proxima!

All transcriptions are available on my website,, if you have any questions on any of the topics we covered in this show, please let me know in the Facebook Group English Made Simple or on my website. This podcast is for YOU guys and I am here to help you learn! So let’s do this! Hasta la proxima!

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