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Lesson Transcript

A Guide to Foreign Exchange in Mexico
Exchanging money in Mexico is quite convenient. You can exchange money at airports, special money exchange kiosks and banks, or withdraw money from an ATM.
As a general rule, try to find one of the exchange offices in the airport or casas de cambio. They are easy to find because the English term “exchange” is often on the front of the store.
First, let's review some previous phrases and patterns we've already covered.
In Spanish, “Is there an ATM near here?” is
¿Hay un cajero automático por aquí? Pay attention to the intonation. You want to make it sound like a question, not like a statement.
(slow) ¿Hay un ca-je-ro au-to-má-ti-co por aquí?
¿Hay un cajero automático por aquí?
Now, to ask for a bank. We can just replace the word for “ATM” with the word for “bank” and the phrase works just fine. “Is there a bank near here?” is
¿Hay un banco por aquí?
(slow) ¿Hay un ban-co por a-quí?
¿Hay un banco por aquí?
It is simple, as you may have noticed, we just replaced un cajero automático with un banco.
Let’s ask for “an exchange office” now. It is very similar. You just need to insert the expression una casa de cambio.
(slow) una ca-sa de cam-bio.
una casa de cambio.
As you might have noticed, we changed un for una, because the noun casa de cambio is feminine.
Let’s ask the question, “Is there an exchange office near here?”.
¿Hay una casa de cambio por aquí?
(slow) ¿Hay una ca-sa de cam-bio por a-quí?
¿Hay una casa de cambio por aquí?
For times when there is neither a bank nor an ATM, you can ask, "Where can I exchange currency?"
In Spanish, this is ¿En dónde puedo cambiar dinero?
Let’s break it down:
¿En dón-de pu-e-do cam-biar di-ne-ro?
Once again:
¿En dónde puedo cambiar dinero?
The first word, En dónde, means “where”.
(slow) En dón-de.
En dónde.
Then we have puedo, which means “I can”.
(slow) pu-e-do
And cambiar is translated as “to exchange”.
(slow) cam-bi-ar.
And at the end we have dinero, the Spanish word for “money”.
(slow) di-ne-ro
Altogether, we have
¿En dónde puedo cambiar dinero?
Literally, this means “Where can (I) exchange money?”
When you are exchanging money in Mexico, usually you will be asked ¿todo? A very short question that means “All of it?” Use the numbers we learned in our previous lessons to say how many of them you want to exchange.
Let’s hear the question one more time.
(slow) ¿To-do?
Todo literally means “everything” but in this situation, it implies the question: "do you want to exchange all the money?”
If you want to exchange all the money just say “yes” in Spanish, which is: sí.
In case you need smaller units you can go to any shop, supermarket, exchange office, oil station, present the bill to them and ask ¿Me podría cambiar este billete, por favor? In English this means “Could you change this bill for me, please?”
Let’s break it down:
¿Me po-drí-a cam-biar es-te bi-lle-te, por fa-vor?
Once more:
¿Me podría cambiar este billete, por favor?
The first word, Me, means “to me”.
(slow) me.
Then we have podría, which is translated as “could (you)”.
(slow) Po-drí-a.
Then we have cambiar, which is “to change”.
(slow) cam-biar.
Next we have este which means “this”.
(slow) este.
After that we have billete, which means “bill”.
(slow) bi-lle-te.
And at the end, as usual, we have por favor, “please”.
Here’s the question again:
¿Me podría cambiar este billete, por favor?
Ask this when you have a big bill that you want to break.
To close out today's lessons, we’d like you to practice what you have just learned. I’ll provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you’re responsible for shouting it out loud. You’ll have a few seconds before I give you the answer, so !buena suerte! which means “Good luck!” in Spanish.
“Is there an ATM near here?” - ¿Hay un cajero automático por aquí?
“Is there a bank near here?” - ¿Hay un banco por aquí?
“Is there an exchange office near here?” - ¿Hay una casa de cambio por aquí?
“where can i exchange currency?” - ¿En dónde puedo cambiar dinero?
“All of it?” - ¿Todo?
“Could you exchange this bill for smaller bills, please?” - ¿Me podría cambiar este billete, por favor?
Alright! That's going to do it for this lesson. Hasta luego.