How to find an English Conversation Partner Online?
Almost all ESL students agree that the best way to improve English speaking skills is to practice with an English conversation partner online.
The challenge is finding a reliable conversation partner from a country where English is spoken as the first language. The keyword here is reliability. If you advertise on the internet, or post on an English speaking forum you will probably get a few responses. But it is extremely hard to find someone who is willing to be your English conversation partner online for a long period of time.
Few reasons for this:
- Most native English speakers who follow Conversational English forums are either English tutors or people who run English schools. Their main goal is to enroll you as a student, and not to be your conversation partner
- If you are lucky you might find an English conversation partner who is in it for the genuine love of it; to learn about your culture, and to help you improve English. But the chances of such a person being able to commit for 5-6 months is very small. And without having conversations for 5-6 months, you cannot really see any improvement.
- Thirdly, there might be people who are willing to help as conversational partners in English, who are really looking for either a language exchange partner or who want someone to talk with. There is nothing wrong with either, but you must just understand that both these approaches will make the process of improving your English slow and cumbersome. In the case of a language exchange , you will have to spend time speaking in your native language which is not ideal. Or in the case of having an English conversation partner who wants someone to talk to, you might get “locked down” as a listener, more than a speaker, which is really a waste of time.
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That being said, there are still opportunities for you to find a reliable English conversation partner online. Here are some tips for you to find a good fit:
- Find a Native English speaker .This is a must. Don’t compromise here. The worst thing that could happen is practicing conversational English with someone who develops “bad habits” in you, whether it is pronunciation or style of speaking.
- Find an English conversation partner online who understands that you want to improve English speaking and not your grammar or listening. If they don’t allow you to talk, they are not doing you any favors
- Try to find someone who is around the same age as you. Lively conversations happen only when you have something common to talk of.
- Be upfront. Tell them whether you are willing to pay or not. If you are willing to pay, make sure you checkout websites like Spoken English Practice, that allow you find a reliable English conversation partner online who will continue with you for 5-6 months if not more. Remember, like with most other things in life, free usually means unreliable or low quality.
- Most importantly, enjoy the journey of improving English speaking. It is not going to be easy but if you enjoy conversations and practice as much as you do the end result, you will find the process a lot more fulfilling.