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How to make the most out of a language exchange partner?


Suggested Difficulty (Elementary etc): Intermediate to Upper Intermediate
Video or Audio: Audio but video is fine too.
Lesson Idea: Hi @Constance_Fang and Team,

I am an upper-intermediate Chinese student and I have a native speaker whom I practice my Chinese with. However, sometimes I have trouble figuring out what to discuss with her. Of course, I can ask her specific questions: How would you say this? Does this sentence sound okay? But that makes me feel like I’m having a very disjointed conversation. Sometimes I try chatting with her about what I have been doing since we last met, but I feel like I run out of things to say quickly. (Maybe I just need a more interesting life.)

How about a lesson in which two characters discuss how to make the most out of language exchange OR a 请问 about it?

Thanks and keep up the great work! I always love your lessons!


The first time you met a new language partner you have a lot to share. But after three or four times everybody have the same feeling : what to say? business as usual, nothing special.
The best way I have experimented with private lesson is to have a new subject for each lesson, it could be a text or a video, a picture from internet and you discuss on that topic.

There are some newspapers which issue each week a selection of photos (BBC news for instance) :

You can select some of these topics as basis for a discussion, and they are new each week.


Hello Bryan,

Just thought I’d throw my 2 cents in…

I often find if I am in a 1 on 1 conversation, especially during a language exchange, I find it is hard to keep the conversation from tailing off after a few minutes… One thing I have found beneficial is to have more than two people in the conversation… Ideally three or four. This way there isn’t that continual pressure to respond immediately. It also gives you time to think about new stuff to say or spend some time forming a sentence in your head.

Completely depends on your style of language exchange too… I generally encourage the rule that you can only use your target language, so my Chinese friends only speak English to me (unless to correct a sentence) and I only speak Mandarin to them.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

Anthony (赵东)