Intercambio roughly translates to “exchange.” An intercambio de lenguas is a language exchange, a meeting of people who speak diverse languages. Usually these events take place at bars (alcohol always facilitates language speaking), and usually are centered around English-Spanish conversation, although a good number of German, French and Chinese speakers tend to show up.
While they’re marketed toward foreigners, the majority of people I meet at intercambios are Spanish, and a good portion of the time they end up speaking in Spanish to foreigners wanting to learn Spanish. They’re usually a lot of fun and are a great way to meet people if you’re new to Madrid. Think of it is a bar where everyone is open to talk to everyone else in whichever language they feel like speaking at the moment. Oh yeah, it’s totally free, too.
I’ve compiled a small list of intercambios below, sorted by day. I’ll update them as I hear about more. Don’t fail to let me know if you know of more.
And apart from going out, there’s also the option of looking on loquo to meet one-on-one. Though I’d be careful with that. I’ve heard most people on there want to exchange more than languages.