Australian Travis Crockett says Tuesday’s Gringo Tuesday program is expanding to the United Kingdom, Brazil and Mexico. / private file
Where did the idea to hold Gringo Tuesday in Bogota come from?
The idea was born when I had the experience of living in the center of Bogotá twelve years ago. As a foreigner (Australian), a lot of guys on the street asked me if I could speak to them in English so they could practice. I thought there was a lack of space where people could carry out this kind of practice with the natives and that’s why Gringo Tuesdays was born.
What is the point of Gringo Tuesday and what are the requirements to participate?
Our mission is to connect the local culture with the rest of the planet through the practice of languages. In parallel, we offer unforgettable experiences for those who attend with various activities and services that facilitate those connections that occur in the development of each event.
(We recommend: “Memory Exercises” by Salomon Kalmanowitz)
The event is organized by levels. How do attendees know if they are low, medium or high?
We are organized by tables, each table with a flag representing the language to be trained there. For every science there is, in writing, the level which can be basic, intermediate or advanced. The level selection is done by the same assistant, and we allow them to self-assess and try out the levels they want.
Do you think that with this event the structural learning models we are accustomed to can be changed?
More than changing traditional models of classroom instruction with grammar sessions, what we intend on Gringo Tuesday is to bring attendance closer to more natural learning, a simple practice and error model, and 100% language immersion. This form is often most effective if the person’s goal is to speak only another language.
Is the event only locals or will it also be open to foreigners?
The idea is for both to come together, both foreigners who want to learn about Colombian culture or locals who aim to meet people from other countries and also practice languages. Foreigners also have the added benefits of simply leading conversation groups in their native language.
As a co-founder of the event, what do you think about the importance of implementing this kind of free activity that allows people to learn in different ways?
Creating this type of cultural space in the city has many positive aspects, the one we consider most important is the opportunity for local people to approach another language in a real context, with native speakers in real situations; In return, we offer tourists and foreigners in general an excellent opportunity to learn about the local culture by practicing Spanish or another language.
What languages are part of these meetings?
At all of our events, attendees will always find combinations of English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese. On special occasions we have already mentioned combinations of Russian, Arabic and Mandarin.
(You can read: The Disidentes Festival opens a call for artists in Colombia and around the world)
Will the event have special guests?
The weekly event features the best DJs on the local scene and at our very private parties we have special singers or artists to bring the party to life. In contrast, when language exchange has very specific guidelines, we have many allies in academic matters, who come with the goal of improving the experience of the attendees.
How many Gringo Tuesday editions have been held and what were the results?
So far, we’ve only stopped, right from the start, during the pandemic and have done more than 500 copies of Gringo Tuesdays. Thanks to the perseverance and dedication of our collaborators, we got the recognition of having the best fun and festive plan on Tuesday in Bogotá.
Does Gringo Tuesday have anything new in 2022?
Having held our event in Medellin, we have people expressing interest from all over the planet and we are in the process of expanding with the goal of reaching three countries this year: the UK, Brazil and Mexico.