A few years of studies of a foreign language have passed and you still think you wouldn’t be able to even ask for a bus ticket with confidence? When you see some confused foreigners speaking in your desired language, you rather pretend you are not there at all, because they could ask you for the way? If that is the case, then it’s time to say enough theory, it’s time the language of your choice use in practice language exchange penpals.
The effort of learning a language without using it in practice could be compared to the effort of trying to get in shape by reading fitness magazines on your sofa.
Of course, it is not always easy, especially when you can’t for any reason; neither travel abroad nor use the particular language at work. But there is an option: it’s called the Language Exchange.
This is not the typical method of learning, but it can dramatically improve your language skills. The idea is that you will find a native speaker (preferably, but not necessarily) of the language you want to learn, who wants to learn your language. You can correspond, or you can meet. You can dedicate half of your time to one language and the other half to the other language.
However, that is only a theoretical description of Language Exchange’s principle. There is a lot of ways how to employ this method. Some spend all their time going through grammar rules, others by sitting in a pub drinking beer and just chatting. You could also happen to find foreigners, who don’t want to learn any language, but would like to go out for coffee with a “native” just for fun.
No matter what kind of communication you choose, being in touch with a native speaker of your target language is a great motivation for studying languages. You will lose the fear of communication in your second language and you can considerably improve your speaking and writing skills.
Where can you find a Language Exchange partner? By using search engines, you will be able to find a number of internet projects for this purpose. Most of them are free, but some charge a small subscription fee.
Tips for Language Exchange:
- Avoid websites where your email address could be easily obtained for spammers.
- When filling in a registration form, make an effort to describe exactly what you are expecting and what can you offer
- Try to find someone with similar interests and hobbies.
- Enrol in to several projects at a time to increase the chance.
- First meetings of unknown people should take place in public areas
- If you and your Language Exchange partner take your sessions seriously, prepare yourselves for each session, so you don’t waste each other’s time.