I remember when I first started learning languages and was at home in England. It was kind of difficult to imagine I could ever become fluent in a foreign language. Mostly, because I was in England. I couldn’t use the language I was learning.
I did, however, start to get creative: talking to myself, my dog, and using the odd foreign word in public, like when saying, “thank you,” for example. Simple words are usually easy to understand for anyone in the right context.
But I wanted more, and I started to join all the Facebook Groups I could find dedicated to my language of choice. Soon enough, I got talking to people, natives, and as it happens, this is how I met my now closest friend and business partner.
Befriending a native speaker is by far one of the best ways to improve your language skills. Especially if that person is also into language and willing to correct your every mistake. I was lucky enough to meet this kind of person: someone I have things in common with and can easily talk to, without having to think of a topic.
Where to find people
Of course, the obvious choice and previously mentioned is Facebook. There are so many “Learn English” groups and pages to join, that it’s almost impossible not to find new friends.
Another site I’ve had some success with is iTalki. This is specifically for finding language partners. You can find natives, but more importantly, you can find people looking for language exchange, and this is how you’re going to make friends. Hopefully, friends that will help you improve your skills for many years to come.
This app is arguably the best for language exchanges: language exchange meets social media. It’s has everything you need to make friends and learn a language. The most awesome thing about this app, is that is has a built-in translator, that you can easily use within a chat window.
Once you’ve set your native and target language, you can quickly translate any message by clicking it in the thread. The translations are pretty good, too. Especially for big languages such as Spanish and English.
Don’t get lazy though. Always remember to read the message first to see how much you understand. Another bonus feature is that you can listen to the messages. So if you’re unsure about the pronunciation, no problem.
You can pretty much say goodbye to Google Translate for a while when using this app. It really has it all, and there are hundreds of people looking to exchange.
My final thought is, try to find a language partner, but also a friend with whom you have something in common. Someone to share experiences, hobbies, and language with. This is the most organic way to learn, and you will see a huge improvement.
Let us know if you use any other sites or apps for meeting people and learning languages. We’d love to hear about it.
See you next time.