Finding a language partner online

There is simply no denying it — one must eventually practice speaking the language. This is where a language partner comes in.

A language partner via Skype or Whatsapp is merely the 21st century’s version of a pen pal by letter.

Where do we find language learning partners? And how do meet and retain them?

The two websites I use to find language learning partners are italki.com and HelloTalk.com, the latter being a smartphone application.

Each displays a lineup of possible partners with their profile photos on the left accompanied by a few minor details.

You will have to create a profile and write a short description about yourself. I suggest keeping it short and interesting. Tell us a bit about what makes you, you!

Who exactly are you looking for?

Remember, a language exchange is a give-and-take relationship. So find someone who wants to learn English, (which I am assume is your native language).

Expect this person to want to speak English, so send him or her a message in English proposing a Skype conversation (if you want include a translation of your message in French or whichever language you’re studying).

Copy your message into Microsoft Word and save it. Resend this message 20 more times. Do this again a few days later to 20 more people.

Gradually, responses will come in. Vet them if you like. I prefer to have a short conversation on Skype — just voice no video – to see if we are a good fit.

Do not search for only one gender or only young or old users.

I see a language partner as simply a friend, and to me a friend can be any age and gender.

You are looking for someone who has time to talk, and someone whom you feel comfortable with.
Once you get a response, send them your Skype account name and ask them for theirs (to add them yourself).

Try to be flexible. You both have busy schedules; plus, there is often and extreme time difference.

Agree upon a set time each week, such as 4 o’clock on Sunday, and make that the set time.

Good luck!

Any tips, questions or advice? Leave me some feedback in the comment section, below.