Download my FREE ebook about language learning!

Natural Language Learning
Without a Teacher!

A step-by-step guide about how to learn a language naturally on your own!

Subscribe to my blog (FREE) to download my ebook!

How to find a language exchange partner

28 Aug 2012

Two weeks ago I gave some tips for starting a language exchange.

Language exchange is where you communicate (either in person or over the internet) with a native speaker of the language you are learning, who is also learning your native language.

In the comments, someone wrote (translated from Polish):

It's easy to look for more language exchange partners if your native language is English. After all, the whole world is learning that language. What to do if no one wants to learn Polish (ed: this commenter's native language is Polish). I don't think I'd find even one Swede who wanted to learn Polish.

I've heard this opinion expressed many times before - basically every time I bring up language exchange.

I agree it's harder if your native language is less popular. But it's definitely still possible to find someone online!

Read more for three tips on how to find a language exchange partner online!

Language exchange websites

There are many websites to help connect people for language exchange. Although most allow you to search for speakers of any language, each has a different mix of languages and nationalities.

For example, Language|Exchange Project has mostly Polish native speakers and Lang-8 has mostly English, Japanese and Russian native speakers.

So, it's worth checking several different sites to see if native speakers of the language you're learning use it.

Here are some of the sites I know:

There are many more!

Online communities

Language exchange has been around for a long time but most people (even those learning foreign languages) still haven't heard of it. So, if you can't find anyone on a language exchange website, you might have to be more creative.

Ask yourself: What kind of online communities or groups would people interested in your native language belong to?

For example, if you are Polish and you want to learn English, I have a surprise for you: many Americans with Polish ancestry are interested in learning Polish. Where can you find them? In Polish-American organizations and communities - most of which have an online presence!

There are also forums and groups on social networks (like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) for people interested in just about any language.

Sticking with this example of a Pole learning English, you could try:

Once you start looking, I'm sure you'll find many more!

You can join any of those online communities, introduce yourself and ask if anyone would be interested in a language exchange!

Craigslist, Gumtree and similar

If someone was interested in learning your native language, where would they look for help? Probably in the classifieds!

In every country, there is a popular website for doing online classified ads. In the USA, that's Craigslist and in most of Europe that's Gumtree.

Pick a city in the country where the language you're learning is spoken that's either (1) very big or (2) has lots of people interested in your native language (for example, there are lots of people in Milwaukee or Chicago who are interested in Polish) and write an ad looking for someone to do an online language exchange!

Have you tried these tips? How did it go? Do you have any tips? Are you still having trouble finding a language exchange partner? Write a comment below!

Anonymous's picture

Also, go to the language-learning subreddit on reddit and create a self-post asking for help (specifically ask for people who want to learn your native language and who are native speakers of the language you want to learn--ironically you will need to do this in English regardless of what those two languages are).

This is one of those things I've gladly admitted before: me and every other native English speaker got very, very lucky in this regard, we'll never have a problem finding a language exchange partner for just about any language we want to learn. I feel very lucky (and it was entirely luck, I admit) to have been raised a native English speaker, it's by far the best possible language to be a native speaker of if you're interested in learning languages in general and/or you want to travel.

Cheers,
Andrew

Posted by: Andrew (not verified) | Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - 13:21
Anonymous's picture

Hi there, I think your web site might be
having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take
a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.
E., it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent blog!

Posted by: Shay (not verified) | Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 07:54
David Snopek's picture

Hi Shay,

Thanks for the heads up! What version of IE are you running? I just tried with IE8 and everything looks fine. If you have the time could you send me a screenshot?

Thanks!
David.

Posted by: David Snopek | Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 08:23
David Snopek's picture

Hi Andrew!

Thanks for the suggest of the reddit!

I agree that we got lucky and I'm thankful as well. :-) The question now is: how can we improve the situation for the folks who didn't start out so lucky?

Best regards,
David.

Posted by: David Snopek | Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 13:56
Anonymous's picture

But if I'm learning at school British English, don't disturb that I'm practicing speaking with American native speaker? I don't know how much differences are between these languages.

I'm sorry for my English.

Posted by: Michał (not verified) | Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 02:16
David Snopek's picture

Hi Michał!

Sorry for the late response - I've been very busy. Your English is fine!

I wrote an article about the differences between American and British English here:

http://www.linguatrek.com/blog/2012/03/british-vs-american-english

But in short, the biggest difference is in the accent. There are small vocabulary and grammar differences, but they are really, really small.

I hope that helps!

Best regards,
David.

Posted by: David Snopek | Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 07:33
Anonymous's picture

The following links can be helpful to you in practicing the languages you learn with native speakers of those languages:

http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/2010/03/get-audio-recordings-...
www.rhinospike.com
http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/2009/08/get-foreign-language-...
http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/2009/08/get-your-foreign-lang...
http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/2010/04/italki-is-taking-on-l...
http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/2010/05/twelve-simple-tips-to...

You can also find native speakers of the languages you learn through language exchange websites. I would advise if I may that you look for teachers or tutors of the languages you learn who are experienced in issues of efficient and faster language learning. Together with such a teacher or a tutor you can develop a plan for comprehensive practicing of daily life topics with relevant content for you as I described in my earlier message to you how to practice a daily life topic in terms of listening comprehension, speaking, vocabulary, reading and writing. You could also discuss my language learning tips and ideas with such a teacher or a tutor.

Let me know what information on learning and practicing languages you are interested in. I have a list of links to materials for reading, listening, speaking and writing on many topics.

Posted by: Mike (not verified) | Friday, March 1, 2013 - 10:16
David Snopek's picture

Hi Mike!

Thanks for posting this links. :-) I'm sure they'll come in handy for many learners!

Best regards,
David.

Posted by: David Snopek | Monday, March 4, 2013 - 15:44
Anonymous's picture

Cześć David,

Lately I have been using sharedtalk.com, which is owned by Rosetta Stone. It is completely free, and has language partners, but also live voice and text chat. I am an American learning Polish like yourself and I have met some very friendly Polish people and have found a few language partners in a day or two.

Dziękuję za wszystko!
Robert

Posted by: Robert (not verified) | Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 06:46
David Snopek's picture

Hi Robert,

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing - I'm sure that'll be helpful to other people who read this article. :-)

I wish you the best with your Polish!

Take care,
David.

Posted by: David Snopek | Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 11:05
Anonymous's picture

Hi,

Great list to start with, I'll be sharing it with my friends at university as we are all taking up languages.

We have all started using Easy Langauge Exchange which is very useful to us as we have met 2/3 native speakers who we do language exchange with weekly.

I'll be checking out the others too.. thanks :)

Posted by: Benny (not verified) | Friday, November 8, 2013 - 08:28
David Snopek's picture

Hi Benny,

That's great! I hadn't heard of "Easy Language Exchange" - thanks for the suggestion. :-) Here's the link for anyone else who's interested:

http://www.easylanguageexchange.com/

Best regards,
David.

Posted by: David Snopek | Saturday, November 30, 2013 - 10:00
Anonymous's picture

I also like www.tandembuddy.eu sites

Posted by: Tomas (not verified) | Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 02:51
Anonymous's picture

Hello David,

First thanks for the great work! Great stuff over here.

I just wanted to share with you our website, http://www.gospeaky.com - The Next Level of Language Exchange.

We launched last month and already have thousands of users. I thought you might want to add it to this great article.

Thanks,
Ludovic.

Posted by: Ludovic (not verified) | Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:28

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account, used to display your avatar.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.