Contact with native speakers is the most important ingredient in effective language learning. One popular means of finding said contact is to look for language exchange partners. There once was a time when it was virtually impossible to find an exchange partner for most languages if you didn’t live in one of a handful of cosmopolitan cities. Now, luckily, the entire world is your search space, and it’s only a matter of knowing where and how to look. In this article, we would like to recommend a few of our favorite platforms for finding language exchanges:
1. Italki (www.italki.com)
Italki is a website with an impressive array of languages, and you can filter by location if you want to find someone to potentially meet with in person. In addition to language exchange partners, it has a separate search function for language tutors. Spend some time making a thoughtful profile that gives potential exchange partners some sense of your personality, interests, and goals, and you should have an easier time finding people who want to chat.
A lot of conversation exchange websites or apps add extra features as a way to stand out. This site sticks to the basics: finding a conversation partner. Like Italki, you create a profile saying a little about yourself, and then start searching. It also lets you filter by location, if you want to try finding someone to meet with in person. ConversationExchange.com has a smaller community compared to Italki, which makes it feel a little more personal and less anonymous.
3. Tandem (APP)
This app has a huge user base, and incorporates a few extra features. For instance, you can post topics or questions you want to discuss in your target language, which gives other users a way to start an interesting conversation without going through the smalltalk that can make the beginning of every exchange so repetitive. Tandem also has its own chat messenger and video chat platform, but a lot of people still prefer switching to more established applications like Skype, Line, or WhatsApp once you’ve decided to try a video chat.
4. 語言交換活動 / Real life
Sometimes meeting people in person is still the best. Check Facebook, Meetup.com, or Google for language exchanges in your city — even if you still only feel comfortable using your native language, and even if nobody there speaks the language you’re trying to learn. The language learning community is surprisingly tight-knit for how global it is, and you’ll be surprised how often someone you meet knows someone else who speaks the language you’re learning.
Of course, there are many, many other language exchange apps and sites out there, and you should try all of them! If you have a favorite that isn’t listed here, let us know why you love it.