Tips to Have Better Language Exchanges

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There are many ways to learn a language. Some prefer learning on their own by experiencing and surrounding themselves with the language. Others prefer enrolling in language classes or getting a tutor online to teach them how to use the language properly. The most popular method now is having a language exchange.

What is a language exchange? Language exchange is simply two native-speakers of two different languages getting together to practice the use of both languages. Confusing? Let’s take this as an example.

Adam White, an American learning Spanish, meets with Erik Gomez, who is Spanish and is learning English, twice a week for coffee. During those meets, Adam practices his Spanish by talking to Erik in Spanish for an hour. After that, Erik starts conversing in English with Adam for an hour. They talk about various topics and act as friends. 

Thus, the exchange happens. So, how can these language exchanges actually succeed?


  • Find a good language exchange partner


Just because both of you are native-speakers of your own languages doesn’t make you experts. You have to be familiar with your own language in order to help the person learning your language. If you constantly create mistakes using your own language, then you might cause more harm than good. Likewise, your language exchange partner must be up to par with these expectations, as well.

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  • Free up your schedule


You’re not expected to spend so much time on your exchanges. One or two hours a day for two to three days a week would suffice. However, missing a day or two because you found something else better to do will leave you back at square one. Not only that, you may also find that your language exchange partner may be a bit vexed at you for not showing up.


  • Pre-plan your exchanges


Before meeting up with your language exchange partner, have a list of topics prepared for you to talk about. They can be a form of questions or a story. These meetings are like dates. You don’t know exactly how to break the ice, and spontaneity may leave either or both of you in an awkward position.


  • Don’t start monologuing


An exchange is a conversation. That means both of you have to be talking to each other and listening to each other talk. Enough said.


  • Don’t start acting like a teacher


A teacher’s job is to teach you and correct your mistakes. Teachers are very intimidating. If you want your language exchange to succeed, quit acting like a teacher. Instead, be friend trying to help another friend out.

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