Club Exchanges Language In Albany

Mar 21, 2019

If you’re interested in learning a new language or just want to meet people who speak one, a club based in the Capital Region might be able to help you out. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on a local group that says: “bienvenido.

“Me llamo Michelle or Ja jsem Michelle.”

Michelle Polacinski speaks English, and a little Spanish and Czech too. Tonight she is hosting the first meetup of the year for the Albany Language Exchange.

The club was formed about a year ago, but went on hiatus for a few months after its founder moved. Polacinski is seeking to revive the club that connects those curious about learning a new language.

“It’s a community of people who want to practice or learn a language in the Capital Region area,” said Polacinski.

Tonight’s meeting is at Albany’s City Beer Hall. The meetings are informal. Polacisnki wants to keep things fun and describes a drinking game built on learning new words. The game starts with picking any word from any language.

“Even if you know it in a different language that you don’t regularly speak. So, ‘amor.’ And then you move around the circle. And if you don’t know the word in another language that hasn’t already been spoken, you drink. So that was really fun. And we always have something new happen, but I’ve made some of my best friends in this group, so it’s a pretty great group to have.”

“So, 你好,我叫包思道. Hi, my name is Austen.”

Austen Bouza, a London native, speaks English and Mandarin Chinese. He discovered the Albany Language Exchange after moving the area about a year ago.

“When I found out about the club, initially, I was very excited about that because I’ve really always enjoyed traveling a lot, and I always wanted to be able to meet lots of different people from different backgrounds. That’s something I got used to in London and felt like Albany just didn’t have. I thought it was just a great way to get a little bit of that,” said Bouza.

“안녕하세요, 만나서 반갑습니다. 이름은 한터 선생님.”

That’s Hunter Share, introducing himself in Korean. It’s his first time attending an Albany Language Exchange event.

“I spent a year teaching in Korea, from 2014 to 2015. And I have always wanted to get better in Spanish. So I figured this would be a better way to practice those things.”

For now, Albany Language Exchange has meetups scheduled on Wednesday evenings starting at 7 o’clock, alternating weekly between Albany and Troy. Troy meetups are set to begin next week at Little Peck’s on Broadway.

Polacinski says a website is also in the works. 

“Let’s say they want to speak French but they’re not sure if anyone who speaks French is going to come because we are a multi-language club, we’re going to have a website that kind of lets people kind of check in, ‘Are you going to this event? What language do you speak?’ So that people can more accurately know what they’re getting into when they come,” said Polacinski.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/AlbanyLanguageExchange/