ABSTRACT Most innovative pedagogical approaches have focused on the classroom, with little attention being paid to the practical use of language study. Utilizing volunteers from the local Spanish-speaking community, the conversation lab was developed in order to provide students with a safe environment in which to consolidate interactive skills. In the conversation lab described, a group of Spanish-speaking senior citizen volunteers met with first- and second-year students twice weekly on a one-to-one basis for unstructured conversation. Both students and staff benefitted from the program, and results indicate the practical value of incorporating the conversation lab into the regular foreign language curriculum.