Language Exchange: The Best-kept Secret in Education

Perhaps learning a second language has been on your bucket list for years or you’ve recently decided to expand your horizons and learn a new skill. The reason behind your desire to learn a language isn’t important. What is important is that you are dedicated to the challenge and eager to learn.

Schools can be expensive and classes, even free ones, can be demanding, especially if you already have a busy schedule.

If you find yourself in the position of wanting to learn a new language but are turned off by the traditional classroom atmosphere and price tag, then I’ve got news for you. Ever heard of language exchange?

What is it? Language exchange focuses on the idea that if you know a language, then you can teach it. We are all teachers, and we don’t need a teaching degree for our skills to be beneficial. You know English and want to learn French? Find someone who knows French and wants to learn English. Take turns teaching each other. Pay each other in lessons instead of money.

Does it really work There is no right way to learn, so it all depends on you and your match. If you are open with your partner and are eager to learn, spending time outside of lessons working on your language, you’re on the right track. It’s also important to find a partner who is right for you. An ideal partner is one who you get along with well, feel comfortable around, and who teaches on the same level that you like to learn. If these things are in check, then chances are, yes, it will work.

How? One of the keys to learning a language is experiencing it. Language exchanges give you the opportunity to have one-on-one lessons by someone who knows the ins and outs of the language. You have a personal "tutor" to answer any questions you may have, to correct you if you say something just a bit off, and to provide you with conversation practice. What better way to learn than by a native or fluent speaker?

What are the benefits? Some benefits already mentioned include that language exchanges are free—it’s time for time, and that you have access to one-on-one help with someone who has experience speaking the language naturally. In addition to this, you get to meet like-minded people who are just as eager to learn as you are and expand your circle of friends beyond your own culture.

Where to get started? Of course LRNGO is a website designed to help making your search for a language exchange partner easier. Just input what you can teach and what you’d like to learn and you will be given a list of matches who are potential partners for you. Get connected with those in your area or all over the world via Skype and start exploring the best-kept secret in education!

Photo Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões

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