Department of Spanish and Portuguese

College of Letters & Science
HomeLa mesa FAQ

La mesa FAQ

  1. What is “La mesa”?

    La mesa de conversación is an informal, free-form conversation group led by members of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Its goal is to provide attendees with an opportunity to speak Spanish in a casual setting.

  2. Who can attend “La mesa”?

    Everyone who speaks Spanish is invited to attend: all levels of speakers, from native/fluent to beginner, including students, staff, faculty, as well as the general public. The only requirement is that attendees speak Spanish.

  3. Do I need to sign up?

    No, just show up.

  4. Do I have to stay the entire time?

    No. In fact, many attendees aren’t able to do so. Whether it’s for 5 minutes or 2 hours, we’re happy for you to stop by.

  5. What is the typical mesa like?

    Since “La mesa” is not a class, it promotes a broad range of conversational topics between neighboring attendees. It is not an instructor-led discussion of a particular topic. Attendees talk in small groups or pairs. Food and drink are welcome and attendees are free to come and go as they please.

  6. I’m nervous about speaking Spanish. Should I attend?

    Absolutely. Most first-time attendees are nervous about speaking Spanish, but that’s the point! A certain level of initial discomfort is the norm and it actually increases your ability to learn! The informal setting is intended to encourage you and decrease your nervousness over time. Remember, the key to learning a language is practice, practice, practice.

  7. Where can I find the dates and times?

    Around the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, the dates will appear on the UW Events Calendar at

  8. Where can I find updates about “La mesa”?

    Follow us on Twitter (@UWMesa) and Like us on Facebook (La mesa de conversación – UW Madison).

  9. How can I find “La mesa” when I arrive?

    There are two ways: 1) Look for our small binder/sign in the middle of a set of tables; 2) Listen for groups of people speaking Spanish.

  10. What do I do then?

    Say “Hola” to the people around you, sit down and start chatting!

  11. What do I talk about?

    Anything and everything: classes, work, travel, daily life, art, music, sports, books, movies, you decide.

  12. Is there a “mesa” in the summer?

    Unfortunately, no. However, on occasion, there are ‘pop-up’ tables during the summer for those who follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

  13. More information?

    Look for us on the website for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, as well as the website for the Language Institute. And don’t forget our Facebook (La mesa de conversación – UW Madison) and Twitter (@UWMesa) pages! If you need anything else, send an e-mail to the Director of “La mesa” at