The perfect language exchange partner is waiting for you online right now. But he may never be your friend and you may never share his interests.
Looking for a friend to help you improve your language skills can be a huge mistake.
Instead, you should look for someone who is more interested in learning and teaching a language. A person who is less interested in learning your deepest secrets will help you focus on improving your conversation skills. Here are a few of the characteristics I look for in a language exchange partner.
You want your language partner to be like a professional. She should be regular, reliable and focused. Limit the length of your sessions. This will create a sense of urgency and expectation. The sessions will go faster and you’ll both stay focused and attentive.
Few successful movies can keep you on the edge of your seat for much more than two hours. That’s pretty much the same for a language exchange session. Keep your sessions to one hour for each language.
A good language exchange candidate will be able to meet regularly at least once a week. If you can’t get together at least once a week, that person isn’t going to be able to help you with your language abilities. Regularity is everything in getting vocabulary and the structure of a language to stick in your mind.
Make sure your language exchange partner has a genuine interested in learning a language. If she does, you won’t need to worry about finding an “interesting” topic. Almost any topic will give you the opportunity to use new words and to experiment with different ways of saying things.
Patience is more than a virtue when it comes to languages. It’s a necessity. Be patient with your language partner and don’t spend time with someone who isn’t patient back.
Don’t criticize. If your comment about the other person’s language skills doesn’t fit into the format, “I liked…..,” don’t say. If your partner can’t follow this rule, find a different partner.
In summary, look for a partner who wants to learn and is interested in learning a language and in helping you learn. Don’t try to find a friend for life, or someone who will hang around with you for a whole day. Find a professional language learner and teacher.
Leave me a comment below and tell me what you look for in a language exchange partner.