I started the Lynnwood Spanish Language Meetup in January 2009 so that I could practice speaking Spanish closer to home. Since 2009 my Spanish skills have improved greatly, thanks to a combination of classes and the group meetings!
I believe (and I know this has been proven) that in order to get grammar and vocabulary cemented into the long-term memory, it is vital to practice speaking. I find that if I have to think about and retrieve the info that I sort of know (and then be corrected on it), I will remember it. I am constantly learning new "cosas" each time the group meets, and this is what keeps me motivated.
Along with speaking, listening to someone else speak the language is just as important. This is why I encourage native speakers to join us. We've been blessed with Costa Rican, Columbian, Mexican, Chilean, and Argentinian members who challenge and open our ears to the different dialects that we may encounter in our travels or on the street.
Although our official meetings take place once a month - due to my personal time constraints - members are welcome to schedule their own meetings if folks want to get together more often. I have left this option open on our Meet Up settings for your ease. Join us!