Honestly, not my cup of tea. I have both good and bad things to say about the subject, but the conclusion is that it’s not for me.
A social activity
My anti-social self has turned language learning (a social activity no matter how you look at it) into a loner activity. I prefer to learn without instruction, swoon over the romance in dramas and simply read. And read. I aim to be fluent in all aspects, but to be very honest, I learn languages not to communicate with people but to be exposed to a wider range of entertainment, literature and culture.
Which makes language exchange terrible for me. In many many ways.
Online or offline
Personally, I prefer online partners. Why? For the simple reason that it’s easier to cut off contact if I find said partner unsuitable or annoying or weird. Commitment is never my type so I would rather keep things simple. Most LE partners start off as strangers. It’s pretty rare to already know a friend and ended up being LE partners.
You can skype, text, write emails etc so medium is not a problem. You get to avoid all the weird awkward silences and save on the time and money on weekly meetups.
Like I mentioned, I have severe commitment issues. None of my numerous language exchange partners last. I won’t say it’s entirely my fault, but it’s always partially my fault.
Finding the perfect LE partner is tough. Most of the time, it feels like Im deliberately finding a topic to chat and that topic wont. even. last. Sigh. Weather, culture differences, reasons for studying the language, fav dramas or stars, education or work profile. Bam, that’s it.
Eg. A (female) had a lot in common with me. We were furiously texting each other and gushing over Kang Dong Won (lol) and other dramas we both love. Omg i finally found the perfect partner. BAM. We stopped texting each other within the week. No reason why. It felt like we had a great conversation and then ran out of steam.
Im not good with small talk, so…
LE is not language tuition
I hate it when people ask me to teach them a language. Helllo. Either sign up for classes or self study. Or engage me as a PAID tutor. A lot of LE partners like to tell me “hey, teach me English and I’ll teach you Korean” haha. No to the former and no need for the latter.
Now this is iffy. Is it better to simple converse about everything and any topic in a free and easy style? Or is it more useful to designate a topic everytime and only talk about that? What about sending each other essays to correct every week?
I tried all and the only one that seem to paritally work for me is free conversation. I know Im terrible but I always subscribe to the idea that if you are the initator or the one asking for a favor, then you should take more initiative. I met a few who wanted to do the “correct each other’s essay” type of LE but they arent even taking the initiative to email me or to actively make it work. :/
Sometimes it’s just annoying when you have different goals.
You type in one language, I answer in the other
Erm no. I had a lot of LEs where the person would want to speak English to me and I can answer in Korean. Which I find illogical, weird and ineffective.
I usually prefer to talk in one language in one session and then switch to the other language in the next.
Hey, what’s your ideal type?
Not you. A lot of people seem to treat LE as a way of meeting the opposite gender. Please dont be so obvious about it. :/ I had a lot of guys ask me stupid qns like my love life and relationship status and ideal types in the FIRST CONVO. And asked if we could meet up or skype. I find that downright creeeeeepy.
Which explains why I no longer use language exchange sites.
To be honest, I only like LE as a way to practice daily conversation, whether via txt or skype or face to face. Other than that, it doesnt work for me.
I have nothing much to say to people in general, so unless the other person has a lot of common interests with me, it wouldnt last past a week.
any thoughts? Share your experiences!!