Easy steps for a successful language exchange experience
In my last post I explained how a language exchange works. Maybe you have found a partner, or you plan to find one. Congratulations! Here are some tips for making your language exchange as productive as possible.
1. Prepare for your meetings.
Preparation can mean a list of interesting questions to ask your partner, some photos on your phone from a recent trip that you want to talk about, or a newspaper article about an issue you care about.
2. Be serious about time.
It’s easy to avoid your meetings, but if you commit to a weekly time, and divide your meeting time equally between languages, both of you will feel encouraged and rewarded.
3. Take notes during meetings.
When you go home, you will have something to study and follow up on. You can quiz each other on the notes to kickstart your next meeting.
4. Follow your interests and ideas.
Your partner wants to know more about Vancouver? Go on a walk or visit a museum together. You have questions about where a word comes from? Open Google and find the etymology together. Watch a bilingual or subtitled movie and discuss it after. Becoming more connected to new resources, people, and groups might actually be the best result of your meetings.
Many partners worry that they are not good enough to help their partner. Remember–just listening, responding, and being a friend in the person’s new language in an invaluable gift.
Adjust your goals and strategies as you go. You might arrive at the first meeting with a general goal of “Learn French” and a strategy of “Just talk.” After a couple meetings, you might fine tune your goal to be “Be able to introduce myself and ask and answer 20 simple questions in French” with the strategy “Practice asking and answering 5 questions with my partner each week, and reviewing notes 15 minutes a day.” Let the experience change you.