One of the best ways to develop your language skills is to use them in real life situations, which is why intercambios are so popular amongst language learners. As the Covid-19 pandemic has begun to reshape society and face-to-face language exchanges have been difficult or not possible to arrange, new ways of learning must emerge. We’ve put together some of our favourite tools for finding a language exchange partner online to continue your speaking practise during a pandemic.
Finding a Language Exchange Partner Online
Speaky – www.speaky.com
Speaky has both an online platform and an app available on Google Play and the iOS App Store. They give you the opportunity to learn over 110 different languages, and for each one you can connect with native speakers online. The fully dedicated and integrated online platform gives you the option to chat via message, audio call or video call depending on your preferences. You can also search for language exchange partners based on mutual interests, which makes it a great tool for meeting new people that you’ll really connect with. Signing up is free with a Facebook or Google account, and they have a whole host of tips to get you started with your language exchange on their blog.
Best for: Those who want a fully-integrated platform.
MeetUp – www.meetup.com
MeetUp is a really diverse platform for activities that go far beyond language exchanges. You can find interest groups for almost anything: art classes, yoga lessons, and much more. Attending classes like these in your target language is another great way to keep learning! In addition, many local intercambios list their sessions on MeetUp for you to attend (depending on local restrictions), or you can find listings of individuals looking for a language exchange partner either in person or online. MeetUp doesn’t have any kind of infrastructure for online exchanges, so once you’ve found your event or language exchange partner you’ll have to find your own way of meeting up online!
Best for: Those who want to try a range of activities or setups.
LingoBongo – www.lingobongo.com
LingoBongo has a great range of tools and resources, but they’re only available for three specific cities – Madrid, Barcelona and Berlin. It’d be great to see them expand soon! If you’re lucky enough to be in one of those cities or you’re learning Spanish or German, LingoBongo is a great tool to consider. As well as a place for finding a language exchange partner, they also list local classes, community events, jobs and apartment listings. This is a great all-in-one tool for the cities it provides for.
Best for: Those who want an all-in-one tool for a specific city.
My Language Exchange – www.mylanguageexchange.com
My Language Exchange is a website that follows the Cormier method, which is a structured programme of writing and speaking in a foreign language in small mixed groups of 2 to 4 people. They provide lesson plans and guidance for before and during your online practise session, and there is a chat companion for less confident speakers. As well as providing a platform for online language exchanges, they also provide a range of resources and word games, listings of local language teachers and many other features.
Best for: Those who want a structured learning method.
Tandem – www.tandem.net
Tandem is an online platform that is centred around finding language exchange partners that are close by. Although looking for an online language partner doesn’t require proximity, it may be a good idea to speak to someone nearby so that you can meet them in real life as restrictions change! The app itself allows you to chat and video call, which means you don’t have to rely on a third party platform. The chat function even has a built-in language corrector (to allow your partner to neatly and clearly correct your grammar) and translator (to allow you to translate difficult messages) to make communication effortless.
Best for: Those who want to meet someone local.
Conversation Exchange – www.conversationexchange.com
Conversation Exchange is another useful platform that allows you to meet people for intercambios or languages exchanges either in your area or further afield. It is completely free to use (unless you want the ad-free version) and you can describe your ideal language partner to come up with a list of results for you to choose from. This platform also has a resources section, full of language tips, tutorials, survival phrases and even a ‘learn with jokes’ section for those learning English, Spanish or Italian.
Best for: Those looking for specific qualities in a language partner.