In 2013 I used for the first time meetup.com, I was in San Francisco for me was the best opportunity to visit some companies and practice my listening skills. Because the meetups are organized for companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Github. But my favorite meetups was the language exchange meetups, was the best experience meet people from different countries, was an opportunity to know I a little about different cultures.
2016 I arrived in Dublin and the platform still useful, but here in Dublin has some differences between San Francisco, the first thing the city are totally different, San Francisco has more Asians students, Dublin is full of Brazilians.
For me, the language exchange doesn’t work like San Francisco, because here in Dulin 90% of the group are Brazilians with a beginner or intermediate level. In San Francisco was common find an American trying to learn: Portuguese, Japanese or Spanish. Here is not common Irish engaged with this kind of event.
If you want to practice your conversation skill, try surf groups, running groups or dancing groups. These groups there are more native speakers than a language exchange group. Volunteer jobs also are a great opportunity to integrate with the local culture.
If you are a developer like me, there are more tips for you; the first some IT events need Volunteer, for example, WordCamps.
You can search for WordCamps next to you here:
Social media week it is an event about marketing also is possible work as a volunteer:
One Month ago, I started a new volunteer as a teacher in a Coder Dojo in Dun Laoghaire:
Basically, I’m teaching programming for children between 07 and 11 years old. It’s is a great opportunity to be integrated into the local community. There we use Scratch, It’s a drag-and-drop code tool, perfect for teaching children because is so visual.
During the Dojo, the children choose the challenge to code using a guide called sushi card.
The coder dojo Dun Laoghaire happen every Monday at Starbucks Marine Road (beside Nando’s). For me it’s one the best activities during my week, the children are so nice and have the feeling that I’m contributing to something.
Actually, we need more mentors if you are interested just fill the form to be a volunteer: https://coderdojo.com/volunteer/