A language exchange website is a good method to improve your learning because you’ll get to practice your writing, listening, and speaking skills with people who have the same interest as you are. I’ll be sharing with you my own experience with language exchange website users below. And yes, that includes the disadvantages too, but let’s start with the good things first.
Find Native Speakers Easily
Finding them is as easy as 1,2,3. If your target language is Spanish and you want to learn the Mexican type of Spanish you can do so by using the search filter. Most free and paid courses out there don’t offer this option. They usually have Latin American Spanish which is still good, but some people want to learn a specific type of language they are learning.
The best thing about this method as the name implies is, you can also get a language exchange partner. Let’s say you find someone who wants to learn the language you’re speaking and is the native speaker of the language you are learning then you can do a language exchange with each other.
Custom-tailored Vs Generic
I can talk with my partner about whatever topic I want to talk about and not be limited to what has been laid out for me like most generic courses out there.
Say I want to talk about a hobby, sport, or fashion I can ask them to teach me the most commonly used words, phrases, and/or idioms even in this area rather than learning a bunch of words that I probably will never use in my daily lives. It’s time-saving, don’t you think?
This is the free way of getting a custom-tailored lesson for you. If you prefer to use a paid one you can use Preply, not only it’s affordable it is also effective as you’ll get a tutor who has experience in the teaching field, so you’re in a good hand.
Build A Good Friendship
I’m sure you all familiar with this. People come and go in your life. Some will stay some will go. That’s how I’d describe the users. I’m not the type of person who met today and forgets tomorrow.
I’ve met lots of good people and among them only a few match well with my personality. If I think that user worth keeping I’d ask for their Skype. Even now we’re still keeping in touch with each other and learn when time permits.
It’s difficult to find one that wants to teach seriously. Most of them are interested in chatting only, so it’s a trial and error process. Even if you find one that is interested, they (not all) are not good at teaching.
Also, you have to take into account the time difference between you two. It’s always the same problem with me. Sometimes that can be adjustable but most of the time not so much.
Read The Profile
Over the years, I realized that most users don’t read the profile of the person they send a chat request to. What’s the point of having it then? Please read it and stop asking the questions that have clearly been stated in the profile. Time is gold people.
Gender Biased Read The Profile
I’m not picky when it comes to language exchange partners. I accept both genders. Unfortunately, they are a few female users who are interested in having exchanges with men ONLY, which is quite disappointing. I mean, why?
This happens to a friend of mine as well, who is a guy. He sent out requests to males too, but…well, you know what happens.
The other day in a Facebook group, a woman requested to have a language practice only with women because she is afraid of harassment from men. Guest what happen next. Some of the members started to react negatively to her such as “Are women better at conversation than men?”, “Maybe she’s a lesbian”, etc. Seriously, that makes me shake my head. Thank goodness there are a few good ones in there defending her, so kudos to them.
You Are In The Wrong Place Dude
A few of them (men) use the websites as a dating platform. They have zero interest in learning languages whatsoever. This is the type of person I hate the most. It happened to me quite a few times and I taught them a good lesson.
I’ve been using language exchange websites for years and I pick up a few patterns. If they ask you these questions below, ignore them.
- Are you single/ married? Do you have a boyfriend?
- Can I see your picture?
- Do you have Skype, WeChat, etc? Let’s use those because this platform isn’t good.
Corrected But Don’t Apply
When users come to me asking for help with their English I’d ask a couple of questions and one of them is how they want to be corrected for their mistakes, is it instantly or later. Most choose the former.
Sometimes, I feel disappointed at that because as soon as I corrected them they make the same mistake over and over again as if my correction is invisible.
A few of these websites don’t have their own built-in software like Skype. Those who have only have the chat feature and not the call and/or video feature. Some do have a call feature but it doesn’t work properly, either it’s on my end or the others. At the end of the day, we have to continue outside using Skype which is the popular option.
The thing about the call feature is some people just don’t know how to use it. If you want to talk with a certain user you should ask for permission first and not just call them out of nowhere. What if they are having a chat/ learning session with someone else and with you calling without telling them you’re disturbing them, literally.
That’s pretty much all. I’m sure there is more as time goes by. I mean the internet is always evolving and so does human. Maybe I’ll create a part two or something like that. Have you experienced something similar? Share with us whatever experience you have so we know how to handle such a situation.