Monday, March 2, 2009

Improving foreign languages skills - Language exchange

When learning a foreign language, there are some different skills we need to improve in order to comunicate: writing, reading, speaking or listening. For example, it is pretty clear that we cannot speak if we cannot understand (listen) what the interlocutor is telling us.

Probably, the very first step learning a new foreign language is enroling a class. This could be either in a language school or with a private tutor. Obviously, this cannot be only source of learning and improving a new foreign language. Nowadays, new technologies, such as internet, offer us a wide range of languages resources.

Thanks to internet, you can improve your reading skills just with newspapers, magazines or blogs in the target language. Listening can also be boosted by listening radio stations and watching tv channels or videos.

The list of sites is endless in any language: English, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Romanian, Vietnamese, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Polish...

Thus, it could be wise to search for pages that deal with a topic you like (e.g. a hobby). You will improve faster because the topic will attract you and you will pay much more attention rather than a boring issue. In addition, when you know the topic in your mother language helps to understand the new language easily.

Thousands of language students are willing to speak a foreign language with native people. So, why do not try to find a language exchange. This could be a one-to-one exchange if you both live in the same city or a virtual exchange using the new techonologies (e-mail, chat, messenger, webcam, microphone...).

Recently, I searched some different sites to meet native people for a language exchange. Check them out and use the one that fits your needs.

  • Babelan is a languages site. There you can find for free (not registration required) native people from around the world for a language exchange via mail, chat, voice,... Also one-to-one exchanges in New York, London, Barcelona, etc.
  • Another place is My Language Exchange. You can find several registered members to practice a foreign language via email, text chat or voice chat. Needs registration.
  • Shared Talk is a community to practice foreign languages. It has different tools such as text chat or a voice chat. Needs registration.
  • In Speak Mania you can find penpals for a language exchange. Needs registration. It has a an audio and video chat.
  • Lang-8 is a language exchange community focus in writing skills. Needs registration.
  • is a community offering three types of language exchange face to face, penpals and text and voice chat. Needs registration.
  • Gumtree is a classifieds website, although, it has a languages swop category mainly for the UK and Ireland. It's free and needs no registration.
  • Another classifieds site with a language exchange category is Justlanded. It works in a wide range of countries, The UK, Ireland, Romania, China, Russia, Italy, Spain, USA, Germany, South Korea and so on.
There ara several sites where you can find native people for a language exchange, you can find them searching in internet. This is only a sample of some of them that could be useful.


  1. Thanks so much for this info. I know “my language exchange and Babelan”. I would like to recommend, a great way to learn foreign languages abroad and make friends at the same time.


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