Bogota bar hosts “Gringo Tuesdays,” where foreigners and Colombians alike come to drink, socialize and learn a foreign language.
La Villa Bar, located in the Zona Rosa district of Colombia’s capital of Bogota, has inspired the largest language exchange in the country, an increasingly popular weekly event known as “Gringo Tuesdays.” Other cafes and bars around the city have also begun to follow suit, making the intimidating and challenging task of learning a foreign language more accessible and enjoyable for anyone willing to try.
La Villa, like many tourist and expat bars, is known for attracting gringos and foreigners to its watering hole, an aspect that often times creates a cultural division between locals and foreigners. In the case of La Villa however, they have cultivated an environment where language barriers do not isolate nationalities but instead fuse them, creating a constant flow of languages from around the world over drinks.
Over the past two years the language exchange nights in La Villa have become more and more popular. Tiffany Kohl, the event coordinator of Gringo Tuesdays, told Colombia Reports that the event is the largest language exchange in Colombia, drawing between 700 to 800 people every Tuesday. Kohl said that it’s a chance for “expats, foreigners and Colombians to come and share the international vibe” that La Villa provides.
Kohl explained that Gringo Tuesday brings a diverse group of people. Although there tends to be more expats and business people who use English or Spanish for work, transient backpackers looking to improve their language skills in a more relaxed, cheap and fun setting also join the multilingual atmosphere at this Zona Rosa hangout.
What makes La Villa’s event even more unique, Kohl told Colombia Reports, is the multitude of languages present on Gringo Tuesdays. Tables of 10 to 15 people are scattered throughout the bar where a host guides patrons to a specific table, accommodating a particular language and level with a native speaker. Every Tuesday La Villa guarantees not only English and Spanish tables, but French, German, Italian and Portuguese, in addition to whatever language might be thrown into the mix depending on nationality and interest of the crowd.
Language exchange evolves throughout the night over impromptu language lessons and drinks where people “come after work, have a beer and talk to a native speaker of another language, taking the pressure off of learning a language,” Kohl said.
Smaller venues of this kind have spread throughout the city, where locals can learn English from foreigners and Spanish from locals in a laid-back informal setting rather than a classroom. For many venues, the only stipulation is to consume X pesos amount of food or beverage in the cafe or bar where the exchange is being held. Participation in La Villa’s Gringo Tuesdays is free.
“The idea is to make practice uncomplicated within a friendly, relaxed and casual environment,” said a manager of one of the companies that utilizes the language exchanges, in an interview with newspaper, El Tiempo.
- For more information on Gringo Tuesdays click here
- An event list of language exchanging bars and cafes in Bogota can be found here
- Address of Bar La Villa: Carrera 14 A No. 83-56, Zona Rosa, Phone: 318 3486394.