22 May Free English Classes Meetup Group
Join our Free English Classes Meetup Group! Practice your speaking and meet interesting people from all over the world. The classes are 45 minutes long and they usually happen every two weeks. The students ask me “Teacher, is it really free? Why?”. Yes, it’s like physics. For each action, there is a reaction. I’ve noticed since I was 21 and started working as a volunteer with disadvantaged kids in the slums in Brazil, that each time I give, I receive so much more. I don’t really know how to explain it, but my mood changes, I start getting more ideas, opportunities, feeling less selfish and more connected, always learning more than I teach.
The “Meetup” app offers just about anything you can imagine, from cooking to programming classes, and of course, many conversational language exchange groups. Many of them for free because the person who creates the group just wants to network, make friends, practice their skills, and spread the word on their services.
Most of the meetup language groups offer no level division and no teachers. I didn’t like that when I joined some French language groups back in the day when I lived in Montreal, so I immediately decided I was going to start my own group. I founded my first language school almost 25 years ago, so I decided my first meetup group would have to offer English classes, of course. And I called it “Free English Classes Montreal”. Surely I’d find someone interested in exchanging French (that’s one of the reasons I lived in Montreal, to learn French, stupid me) for English with me on a one-to-one basis. And that’s exactly what happened and that’s how I made my best friends in Montreal. And when I moved to Spain, I did the same thing there, just changed the name of the group. Now we have over 2000 members in this same group and meetup does all the hard work of advertising our events for me.
As I said, I first bumped into “meetup” when I lived in Montreal in June 2013. I wanted to learn French but I had spent all my savings into my MBA so my roommate from Iran suggested I tried it. I have to thank her for opening my eyes to both meetup.com and internations.org. I had just started traveling, enjoying the freedom of working online, and started learning about all the digital tools for building networks by sharing what we learned with others. In less than a month 500 members had already joined the group! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have a place to teach, yet.
I started offering 2 classes each week, one for intermediate and one for advanced. The classes were so full and they liked it so much that the students asked me for more classes a week. I told them I’d continue giving them 2 weekly classes for free but I’d have to charge if they wanted more than that. They decided they’d pay 5 dollars each for the extra classes and that added up to around 100 dollars per hour with the average of twenty students that were showing up every class, totally unexpectedly. It really helped in the beginning because I was just starting my first online business and needed new friends and inspiration.
The best part was definitely making so many friends from all over the globe and learning about multicultural backgrounds. It was my first experience traveling alone for three months. I remember one day we had 18 people from 14 different countries in class. Countries I had never even heard of. And I’d ask them to tell me, in English of course, about their countries and cultures while I taught them English.
We’d go out for drinks sometimes after class and it was just amazing. At the end of each event, I mentioned my services, of course, as a CTA (call to action) but I didn’t really care if I got new paying customers from this. It was (and is) more about gathering so many cool people around the same interest and seeing their faces there.
So, as I suggest to all my clients, start your meetup group! Share something you know FOR FREE! Don’t worry about how you’re going to monetize this. It will come to you naturally once you’re doing what you’re good at. I promise you’ll have lots of fun, meet a bunch of interesting people, learn, practice your public speaking, produce some amazing content, and feel great!