3 Benefits of Joining a Local Language Exchange
If you’ve ever spent any meaningful amount of time in a foreign country, you’ve probably been inundated with advertisements about language exchanges, meetups, and events designed to promote learning the local language. While some may naturally gravitate towards speaking the local tongue, others may need a bit more convincing.
If you find yourself thinking about going to a local language exchange, but aren’t quite sure if they’re for you, here are 4 reasons why they can be incredibly beneficial for not only living your life as you would normally, but also make friends along the way:
1. They force you to converse (/practice)
Okay, sure, you might have to talk about what you studied at university or what your job title is—you may even have to mention them a million different times—but that’s fine. These types of situations spur you to discuss yourself and your life with others, and to listen to them in return. Even if you aren’t a fan of talking with strangers, sometimes you can find yourself having amazing conversations with people you don’t even know. And, sometimes you might just make a friend out of it too.
2. There are lots of new faces to meet
More often than not, language exchanges can be teeming with lots of people, both locals and foreigners. Often, they’re hosted at bars or places with great atmospheres, meaning that it’s a good place to relax and feel comfortable. This can only work in favor of your language development. Especially after one or two drinks, you’ll likely feel much more comfortable chatting it up in another language.
And of course, the more people there are, the higher the odds that you’ll meet someone who’s worth staying in contact with into the future. This makes language exchanges great for speedily meeting many people in a casual environment.
The more often you attend language exchanges, the more you’ll probably grow to love them for aspects beyond just their practical usage. Their cool atmosphere and the usually wide-ranging list of attendees make them a great gathering place to put yourself out there in an unbridled way.
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3. They’re less pressured than other events
Formal classes and tutoring sessions can feel so… pressured sometimes. Whenever it’s possible to practice another language (and even your own!) in an environment that’s more relaxed and comfortable, your skills have a better chance of improving.
Imagine that you sign up for in-person or online language classes. While they may be everything you want and need, if you’re not living in that country where the language that you’re learning is spoken, or you can’t find anyone to practice with, a language exchange setting is a perfect solution. And who doesn’t love the thought of meeting great people in the meantime?
Check out sites like MeetUp, InterNations, or even try typing in your city into Facebook and see what might pop up. Consider joining local language exchanges as soon as you can on your language journey and improve your language skills.
Do you have any other language exchange programs you’d like to recommend? What about any cool stories about people you’ve met? Tell us about them below in the comments section!