Find a language buddy
Check out these free apps to connect with people that want to exchange languages! Just download the app and enter the language(s) that you already speak and the language that you want to acquire to be connected with a language partner.
Suggestions for when you sit down to speak with your language partner:
Keep in mind that listening is more important than speaking when we are first acquiring a language, so don't force/struggle through the conversation in Spanish the entire time. When we speak, we are producing language that is already in our head. This is great and it is satisfying to be able to produce the language and hear ourselves using what we have acquired, however, the more we speak, the less input our brains will receive from our language partner in order for us to be able to acquire more language. Try having a more natural conversation and asks lots of questions. Ask your partner to slow down their speech as needed and/or use gestures and drawings to aid your comprehension.
Below are some suggestions for language exchanges from polyglot and language professor, Jeff Brown:
(1) Gather some magazines that have lots of interesting pictures. Do not ask that your partner to translate the magazines. Ask her or him to describe the images to you lovingly with great detail and to ask you simple yes or no questions about the images. Once you feel comfortable, you can reciprocate with simple questions about the pictures.
Examples of simple questions:
What is this? What color is ___?
How does she/he feel?
What is he/she doing?
Do you like to do this activity?
(2) Gather lots of children's books. Don't simply have your partner read the story to you. Ask him or her to talk through the pictures and tell you a story using the pictures, not the words. Again, do NOT have your partner translate the story. Most children's books are designed for parents to read to their children (not for children to read on their own). They are full of very advanced, low-frequency words that beginner and intermediate Spanish learners are not ready to learn.
(3) Have your partner teach you new verbs through actions. For example, your partner can start with a list of common verbs (eat, sleep, hit, walk, swim, etc.) and introduce the words to you by acting them out. Then he/she can say the words to you and have you act them out. You can add adverbs and combine the words to keep the commands novel.
For example: Eat (eat quickly, eat slowly, eat a hamburger, eat some french fries, eat and talk at the same time, eat while walking, eat happily, etc.)
Keep a running list of these verbs. Each time you meet with your language partner, you can review and then add more verbs to your list as you are ready..