Native Spanish speakers wanting to learn English provide the opportunity for students to be paired with a local speaking partner, also known as an intercambio – a conversational exchange that encourages language practice and friendships between North American students and local native speakers. Students are paired with each other based on mutual interests. Speaking partners and Spanish Studies students first meet at a fiesta at the beginning of their program, where the speaking partnership begins. Each partnership presents the opportunity for Spanish Studies students to get a new perspective on the local way of life, and for local residents to gain insight into North American culture.
Spanish Studies Abroad actively promotes regular interaction between students and locals by organizing social events and cultural activities such as outings to the theater, festivals and carnivals, art exhibits, concerts of classical and contemporary music, video presentations, and parties with native speakers. The Spanish Studies philosophy encourages students to set aside American friendships temporarily and develop local ones, in order to become more a part of the local culture.