Scambio in lingua to discover Milan

One of the first tasks we have been involved in as volunteers for Casa per la Pace has been toorganise a Language Exchange or Scambio Linguistico. A language exchange is quite simply a social event for people who want to practice or learn a foreign language. We decided to do our language exchange in the form of an interactive walking tour of Milan.

Our exchange was between Italian and English so it mainly attracted those who wanted to improve these languages but it was open to anyone and everyone was welcome. The idea is to get everyone talking and communicating in the language they wish to practice so we organised some games for everyone to get to know each other and to hopefully improve their language skills as well.

 To break the ice we gave everyone a list of people to find, for example; someone who spoke more than 3 languages, someone who knew a famous person or someone who had lived in Africa. The list was half in English and half in Italian and everyone was encouraged to only communicate in the language they wanted to practice. We gave everyone the challenge of checking off everything on the list.

For each of the locations we visited on our tour we explained different stories, legends and superstitions about the places in both English and Italian. Our inspiration for the stories came fromthis blog  which has lots of interesting, unknown facts about some of Milan’s most notable places. The pictures used here are also taken from the blog. During the tour we also played some games, including a photo competition and scavenger hunt.

Even though the weather was not on our side, lots of people (far more than we expected!) braved the cold, wet weather and joined us for the exchange. There were people from lots of different countries, so it was a great opportunity to practice different languages and get to know new people.

The tour finished at the pizzeria Magolfa  where we all enjoyed cheap and very good pizza together. Even though we had only booked the restaurant for 20 of us, they happily accommodated the extra numbers and we were able to stay there, talking in both English and Italian for the rest of the night!