Find a language partner.
A language partner is someone that you can meet with once a week, once every two weeks, or whenever works for both of you, to practice each other’s native languages.
For example, you want to learn Italian and Francesco wants to learn English. He’s at an intermediate level and so are you.
You decide to meet once every two weeks to chat for an hour. 30 minutes is spent on English, and 30 minutes is spent on Italian.
You can find a language partner easily on Italki by going to the bottom of Italki’s site and choosing “Language Partners” from the “Browse” section.
Don’t have a free account yet? Sign up here to get one now.
You’ll see a search bar that allows you to filter profiles based on the language you’re learning, the language he/she is learning, where they’re from (including the city for dialects), and whether they’re male or female.
You also want to be sure to check “native speaker.”
Here are some of the options that came up when I entered “Rome” as the city.
The first arrow at the top is pointing to a green book icon. This means that Claudio is also an informal tutor.
The second arrow points to the level of English that this person speaks. The level is shown by the pink bars.
So you’ll know that if you need someone who is very proficient in English, you can look there for their level.
The bottom arrow is pointing to a gold book icon and that means that Anna is also a professional teacher.
When looking for language partners, avoid those with icons as they will most likely not be interested in an exchange.
Let’s say we choose Sandra to see if we want to reach out to her to ask for an exchange.
We go to her profile and see in the green box that she is absolutely looking for someone to chat with in English for exchange.
We see that’s been a member since April 7, 2014, so she’s fairly new, but it also seems like she’s pretty active since she’s been correcting and writing journal entries which you can see from her activities.
If I wanted to learn more about her, I might correct one of her journal entries.
If I wanted to go ahead and reach out, here’s what I would do.
1.) Make sure you’re signed up for a free account by signing up here.
2.) Once you’re logged in, you’ll see that the green box will now have a “follow/unfollow” button.
3.) Click the “follow” button, and click the button that pops up that will “Send Follower Request.”
4.) Type in a short message about why you want to be language partners on Italki and send it off.
5.) If she/he follows you’ll back, you’ll be able to send direct messages and set up times to chat via Skype/Google Hangouts.
Benefits of using a language partner on Italki
— You can meet Italian friends before you ever step foot in Italy.
— You can practice your Italian to improve conversation.
— You practice your audio comprehension so you can understand more spoken Italian.
— You can learn new phrases, vocabulary words and cultural tidbits from a native speaker.
— You can chat with them on your own time from home.
Downsides of using a language partner on Italki:
— Because we are dealing with humans, not everyone will be reliable. You’ll often have people canceling on you or not holding up their side of the bargain, which can be frustrating when you’re committed to learning a language.
— Not every person will be a good fit for you as a language partner personality-wise, so you may have to do a bit of searching before you find the right match.
Full disclosure: Italki has sponsored the 30 Minute Italian podcast in the past, and while they don’t pay me to brag about them on my site like this, they deserve the best of the best treatment…and hugs. Lots of hugs.
Questions? Comments? Leave them in the comments below!