Right now, there are nice people from all around the world ready to improve your language skills online! But don’t start using an app for it without reading the crucial guidelines below..
Finding meaningful connections for language exchange may not be that simple, after all…
Scroll down the screen, and you will know the correct way for your partnership to truly help improve a new language.
Learn about the potential issues that can arise in an online language exchange.
10 tips to build effective language partnerships for fluency
- Always check the profiles of the users on the app. You can also try to find them on social media, if the real names are provided. It helps to see if their interests match with yours. A common mistake is to invite a partner based only on the language itself or on the place the partner lives – that can be frustrating in the future!
- Have in mind that, even when you talk to people in your own language, it’s not possible to have news to share every week. That’s why it’s normal that, after a while in a language exchange with a colleague, the topics come to an end! (what about these ideas to start conversation?)
- Look for a colleague who has the same level of proficiency in your language as you have in his language. This helps a lot!
- In your initial meetings, observe how you can assist your partner. This is crucial as it’s a language exchange, meaning that both need to derive some benefit. By acting this way, you’ll show him respect and it will build up a long-lasting relationship. Some nice ways to show generosity include sending your partner YouTube videos or grammar explanations they need.”
- Encourage and praise your colleague’s progress. This is not only a way to assist them, but also to make your ‘lessons’ more enjoyable!
- As soon as you have your first meeting with a partner scheduled, write down some questions. This is good to avoid a boring first meeting. You can ask about those details you saw on the partner’s profile. For example: if you read that the partner enjoys traveling, you can ask where he has already been to – this will lead to other possible subjects. If your partner is too shy to ask you questions, just talk a bit about yourself. Find news about the country where your partner lives or tell him what you usually have for breakfast (after all, each culture has a type of breakfast!).
- A very good idea for the first meetings is to write down whole chunks of texts in your target foreign language, about subjects you want to talk about. It’s a helpful way to be able to talk fluently with your partner – writing down whole sentences or texts helps a lot in conversation!
- Take initiative and write down, in advance, some topics, grammar and vocabulary questions to ask your partner in your meeting.
- Now, about technology: be sure to have a fast internet connection, a good webcam and microphone. We suggest you use a headset, which assures a high quality of sound. Also, don’t keep your face in the shadows – it’s not pleasant to communicate like that.
- Online language exchange is not a traditional class, so take it easy and be patient. Anyway, if your partner makes constant errors when talking, don’t stop the flow to teach grammar rules. Let it continue, and jot down some of them to help later.
Tips to solve the issues in language exchange partnerships
We bet you are enthusiastic after reading our tips above!
Now we must call your attention to some challenges – they can make you feel discouraged at first, but we teach you how to avoid them.
- An inconsistent partner
What do we mean by “inconsistent”?
By inconsistent we mean language partners who seem disinterested, who agree on casual conversations or even just don’t show up.
If you experience behaviors like these, you will be frustrated, of course. But – believe us – it’s a common drawback in any language app. Maybe this is the major drawback you will find while using language exchange apps. Please, keep searching for new language partners: there are many serious partners looking for learners like you!
It’s common that the frequency of interactions can be unsteady. After all… we are all humans that can regret choosing this or that partner… or we can just have some unexpected personal commitment and… the partnership is finished.
Since it’s a very personal matter, this is the only solution we have: tell your partner that he seems disinterested and ask if he’d prefer to stop the meetings. This could lead to the conflict to a better end for both.
We hope you are lucky to find some language exchange partner that keeps meeting with you for a long time – it’s perfectly possible.
- An unhelpful partner
Online language exchange implies mutual help (this is vital for us of Speaky), but some partners may be more focused on their own goals than on helping the partners with their language mistakes…
If you notice that your partner is ignoring your mistakes, or is not assisting you with your difficulties, remind him that he can do so without hesitation. Possibly he will become more helpful.
What can you do in this situation? Just say something like “Sorry, if you don’t mind, could we speak some German now?”. Your partner probably won’t mind.
- The partner is in a different time zone
It’s not easy to find a suitable schedule when the time zone is very different. The time you choose in the afternoon in your country could be early morning in your colleague’s country.
In cases like this both partners will have to reach a mutually beneficial schedule.
Remember you can search for partners of a specific language in different countries, so schedules can match better. Before inviting a partner, take a look at the time zone in that place, so as to make things easier!
- The partner just looks for a date
If your goal in using an online language app is just learning another language, maybe it’s important to make clear that you are not looking for flirting or romantic relationships. This is one of the main complaints people (most of them women) make about language exchange apps.
In fact, people that take advantage of these apps for dating have been ruining the quality of many online language exchange platforms. The first purpose of such apps is to join people from all backgrounds to expand their knowledge and be solidary, through language learning.
Please, also be careful not to exchange personal pictures or information, at least in the first meetings, ok? Don’t trust too much… A good idea is to use a picture of an animal or any other generic one, instead of yours.
And, if the person insists on being disrespectful, block him.
- There is discrimination
Unfortunately, discrimination happens in language exchange apps (like in day-by-day life).
Don’t ever accept being under sexual harassment, racial discrimination, unfair treatment or any regrettable situations!
Discriminations can happen in unnoticed ways or in obvious ways – be aware if your request is ignored by someone, because you are from a specific country or ethnic background; if there is any stereotype about your origin (country or people).
Some possible solutions:
- Look for someone who teaches that language you want to master, to be your partner. Teachers are, in general, committed to helping students, whatever ethnicity or origin they are.
- Be clear and very specific in your profile, thus avoiding misunderstandings. Be objective and tell your partner what is your objective with the meetings; if you want to improve language for academic purposes, don’t be shy to ask for a graduated partner; if you want to have a partnership only with people of your genre, let people know.
- Give preference to partners who have a complete profile too.
- In your first meeting, let your mate know that you want to be corrected (if that’s the case); sometimes your partner can feel a bit shy to do that frequently.
- The partner seems to have no particular goal
It’s common that your partner has chosen you (or accepted your invitation) without a clear objective. He expects an online language exchange to be like attending a language class in a classroom. That ‘s not true.
Most of the time, the partners won’t have prepared structured specific topics in advance (after all, they are not teachers), and the result may be that you both feel stuck!
So, prepare some topics yourself to guarantee that you have enough subjects to talk about the entire time.
To finish up
You are ready! Find the perfect partner on Speaky Language Exchange app! Just follow the tips above and reach out to your language partner as frequently as possible.
Soon you’ll be improving a new foreign language online and, hopefully, making new friends in new cultures – have fun!