¡Hola! ¿Que Tal? – The International Office’s Spanish language cafe

Every Tuesday, HAW Hamburg students who love Spanish meet up at the Spanish language cafe. In a relaxed setting, native speakers and students who are learning Spanish chat about a range of different topics. The cafe gives participants the chance to polish their Spanish skills, enjoy intercultural exchange and get to know new people. It is also a super place to prepare for a semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.

Sieben junge Studierende sitzen draußen an einem Tisch im Restaurant El Tigre in Hamburg und lächeln in die Kamera

The Spanish language cafe at Restaurant El Tigre

About the cafe

The International Office has been offering the language cafe for Spanish-speaking students since winter semester 2021/22. It is financed with STIBET funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The idea to start the cafe came from Teresa Schaubs of the International Office. The demand for Spanish native speakers in the language-tandem programme was very high, and through her interactions with international students, Schaubs knew that there are a lot of students from Spanish-speaking countries at HAW Hamburg – both regular students and exchange students. At the cafe, native speakers can meet up with other native speakers as well as with students who are learning Spanish.

Who organises it?

Celia, a student tutor, organises the language cafe with the help of international student volunteers, which include Andres Almeida and Angela Bohorquez Lopez. Celia is from Spain and studies Illustration in the Department of Media and Design at the Finkenau campus. The language-cafe programme includes board-game evenings, restaurant visits and presentations about Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. This summer semester Celia also wants to add some new ideas, like karaoke evenings, Latin dancing and picnics in the park. Of her work, she says, ‘It’s a lot of fun to organise and be part of the language cafe. Even as a native speaker I learn new things, like the cultures in other Spanish-speaking countries and different words and expressions. If someone is learning Spanish, it is naturally the perfect chance for them to start talking and to refresh and improve their language skills. The atmosphere is more relaxed than in a language course and you get input from all the native speakers who come to the café en español’’.

Who takes part?

About 10 to 15 students attend the cafe on a regular basis. They are from Germany, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Spain, among other places. Especially in the current pandemic, the cafe provides a valuable chance to talk. ‘I love the Spanish language cafe because every time I’m amazed by the diversity of the Spanish language and I learn about the differences and similarities between the Spanish-speaking countries. The cafe is a place where I feel completely secure and can be myself. The people I’ve met there are great and amazing,’ says Sarai López, who is from Mexico and is studying for a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering.

The Spanish language cafe takes place every Tuesday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, either in room 124 of the ST69 building (Stiftstraße 69) or at another location in a park or restaurant. The locations and topics are sent out via the language cafe's WhatsApp group. Those interested in attending should be able to speak Spanish at the B1 level or higher.


Author: Emma Körting, International Office

Contact information: If you have questions or want to sign up, you can contact Celia at sprachcafe_spanisch (at) haw-hamburg (dot) de

Additional information:www.haw-hamburg.de/en/international/intercultural-programmes/spanish-language-cafe/