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Language Exchange User Posts


The Baoan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan
Meeting a Language Exchange Partner in Taipei, Taiwan
As a study abroad travel advisor, it is my responsibility to provide students with opportunities to get better acquainted with Mandarin Chinese during their time in Taipei. Learning a language does not have to cost anything. There are opportunities all over to learn, Mandarin or other languages, for free. These places will give you plenty of chances to meet a language exchange partner in Taipei and get started on practicing a new language.

Meetup Groups
If you’re interested in getting to know a large group of people looking for language exchange, take a look at Meetup, a website used to connect people with shared interests. The website is host to some language exchange groups right in Taipei, including Taipei Language Café and Taiwan Travel and Language Exchange, which meet weekly.

Language Exchange Websites
Finding language exchange partners has never been easier than through websites designed to connect people interested in teaching and learning a second (or third!) language. It’s as simple as including the languages you can teach, those you’re interested in learning, and your location for the site to come up with a list of matches in your area. LRNGO is a great place to start your search.

Online Forums
The Internet makes connecting with people easy, so you might as well make use of it! Taiwan’s hub for online communities, Forumosa, is home to all kinds of online forums ranging from events to volunteering to fitness. Get involved with a forum like those found under "learning Chinese" or explore your other interests to connect with people who may like to partner for language exchange.

Bookstores
You’re sure to find a wide variety of people interested in learning new skills in a bookstore. The Eslite franchise owns over twenty bookstores in the Taipei area, including a 24-hour location on DunHua Road. Eslite is known for its massive selection of imported books, whose languages span the globe. Caves Books is also a great place to go if you’re looking to learn English (or to find a language exchange partner with this goal), as they are a major carrier of English language learning and teaching books.

Nightlife
Not only is it a fun way to meet new people, but going out may lead you to your new language exchange partner! 45 Pub is known to attract foreigners and students alike, so strike up a conversation with a friendly face! Velvet Underground, a popular hangout with both locals and foreigners, is a versatile venue with a bar and restaurant featuring live music five nights a week and a club atmosphere once it gets late. Get out, get to know people, and bring up your language goals—you may just meet the perfect language exchange partner.


Photo Credit: Daniel Aguilera Sanchez

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Chinese writing engraved in the Great Wall
I Spy Chinese Mandarin Teaching Jobs
As China has emerged into a growing economic and industrial nation, there is current potential for new business, industrial, technical, environmental, and scientific jobs. There is also a vacuum created for services that require translators and teachers. There has been a rising need for those fluent in Mandarin to teach others worldwide this valuable skill, and there are tons of opportunities for learning.

For parents and educators, the need for Mandarin teachers has also become apparent to assist children, pupils and youth in preparation for their future. A growing number of elementary as well as secondary schools across the country offer standard Chinese programs in their schools today. Chinese immersion courses, Chinese Mandarin lessons, and Chinese culture studies are included now as part of many curriculums. Credentialed bi-lingual teachers will have no difficulty to find jobs teaching Chinese at schools nationwide. The Mandarin Immersion Parents Council Website provides a list of Mandarin Immersion Schools all over the country, giving you a heads up on where to look for job opportunities.

To find out what the teaching qualifications are in your state, Teach.org offers all the details you need to know about what is required and what those requirements mean, as well as how to get them. This detailed, easy to use site is perfect if you’re looking to get into teaching and are unsure if you’re qualified.

CLTA, the Chinese Language Teachers Association, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has an excellent online database listing opportunities for teaching Chinese around the country and can be used as a useful tool for those looking to use their Mandarin skills to teach.

Using other job search sites are also beneficial, and School Spring offers a great list of listings for both teachers and tutors.

Most major cities in the U.S. have a Chinese Cultural Center which supports the performing arts, supports the preservation of Chinese culture, and offers language classes. Besides offering Chinese lessons for both adults and children wanting to learn the Chinese language, teachers looking to find jobs teaching Chinese may apply at the center. Look for more details on how to get involved at the Chinese Cultural Center in your area.

You can also take a look at LRNGO for opportunities to post your skills as a Mandarin tutor so that those searching for one will have access to your page. With LRNGO, you will even have the opportunity to teach globally via video chat and teach classes on the web. LRNGO is a great place to post your skills as it is accessed by thousands of users in over 200 countries!

If you’re looking to use your teaching skills to travel, International School Jobs includes job postings from all over the world to help connect those in the US and UK with opportunities to teach elsewhere in the world.


Photo Credit: James Whatley

lrngo users in over 190 countries

A group talking in a meeting
What to Talk About in a Language Exchange
You are about to partake in a language exchange. You know you need to have some sort of structure, some sort of lesson plan, but you don’t know exactly how to go about creating one. The most important thing to keep in mind is that an unorganized language exchange is going to be unproductive. Regardless of how you choose to structure your language exchange, you should go into each language exchange with concrete idea of very specific topics and activities. Here are a few suggestions for what you can talk about during the actual language exchange.

  • Play games- This especially works well if you are in a language exchange group of more than two or three people. For example, playing a quick game of Spanish Scrabble is both a good teaching tool and a great time for bonding. Of course, you do not want to spend your entire time playing games, but it can be a great activity to mix things up.

  • Pick specific conversation topics- For example, if both you and your language exchange partner are passionate about movies, you can spend part of a session describing your favorite movies. After giving maybe a short three minute or so summary, you can answer questions about the movie that your language partner asks you, and so on and so forth.

  • Discuss what you have learned since the last session- Ideally you will have some sort of language practice besides the time you spend in your language exchange. For example, during the interim between your language exchange sessions, you could be reading up about new grammar and vocabulary topics. As part of your language exchange sessions you could then summarize to your partner what you have learned and start a conversation there. Your partner would then be in a position to help you review and recommend new topics you might be interested in.

  • Talk about events in your life- It might be a good idea to have a designated time period during your language exchange session where you and your partner are free to discuss anything you like. Was there someone’s birthday over the weekend? Talk about the preparations, the guests who attended, and how difficult it was to clean up. Is there a big holiday coming up? Talk about your plans to get together with family, your growing stress as you try to get the house ready, etc.

  • Use the “book club” approach- There are beginning books for readers of every language to practice with. Try having you and you reading partner read one of these practice books for each session. You could then each take turns summarizing what happened in the books, talking about whether you liked it or not, and responding to each other’s questions.

  • Use a pre-designed program- There are many language sites and books that have pre-made lesson plans designed for language exchange programs. Consider as many of these options as possible to find the one that will best suite you and your language partner.

  • Talk about bizarre topics- Stereotypical questions “How are you”, “how old are you”, and “How is your family today” simply will not help prepare you for more difficult topics of conversation. Consider having a “bizarre topic” to discuss during your language exchange time. For example, “In high school, where there any classes that you doodled in because you were bored?” or “What sport have you always wanted to play but never tried?”



Photo Credit: Simon Blackley

lrngo users in over 190 countries

The Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II bridge in Italy that crosses the Tiber River
Experience Italy for Free by Learning Italian
Whether you’re in it for the art or the food (or another reason, but let’s face it, what’s better than Italian pasta and architecture?), you’ve decided that you want to learn Italian. If you’re reading this page, you’ve obviously taken the first few steps towards learning Italian, so congratulations! Unfortunately, it doesn’t just take a firm resolve to learn to know a language; you’ve also got to find the right resources and stick to them.

The great thing about language learning today is that there are tons of opportunities to learn for free as the world becomes smaller and more people are interested in learning multiple languages. Check out these resources for free Italian language learning, figure out which works best for you and get started!

Language Exchange

If you like the idea of working one-on-one with a tutor, but want to avoid the cost, then this is most likely the best option for you. Keep in mind that working with a human being on language learning will give you the opportunity to be flexible with what you’re learning, cater to the things that you need the most help with, and give you valuable cultural insight and conversation practice. Sites like LRNGO offer you a free platform to connect with a language exchange partner locally or anywhere in the world through video chat. Spend an hour of your time teaching a skill you have (everyone has a skill, even if it’s your native language!) and gain valuable tutoring in exchange.

YouTube

Learn Italian with Lucrezia is perfect for beginners looking to get a grasp on the basics of the Italian language and culture. Lucrezia posts episodes every Monday so you are guaranteed to have new material frequently. Sometimes, when the inspiration strikes, she even posts Italian recipe videos, now who wouldn’t want that Italian lesson?

ItalianPod101 focuses on vocabulary, pronunciation, and basic phrases in their videos. This channel is good for foundation work, or those looking to have a general understanding of the language for travel purposes.

Learn Italian Easy is for those who like their lessons centered on everyday, real life situations like getting coffee or going to the beach. This channel is also best for those looking to travel, as it doesn’t focus on grammar.

Podcasts

Learn Italian Pod offers tons of podcasts on a variety of topics for all different skill levels. Not only is there tons of useful content, but it is also easy to sort through with four different levels from beginner to advanced and the option of separating by category.

News in Slow Italian is for those who have a basic understanding of Italian and want to practice their listening skills while simultaneously keeping up with modern events and cultural happenings.

30 Minute Italian is a great resource if you’re planning on setting aside some time to listen to a podcast. The range of episodes spans greatly and they are all available for free on iTunes.

General Websites

BBC Italian is a great resource for all kinds of Italian language learning tools. From a free online course, news and radio links, vocabulary exercises, and more, you’ll be sure to find something useful to you on this site.

Learn a Language offers free Italian courses and more with a free Facebook log in (done this way in order to keep the course free for users), and offers ways to check your progress and encourage you to continue learning.

One World Italiano is another place to find full, free Italian lessons. There are multiple options for varying learning levels and a YouTube course to boot (no pun intended).

Italian 101 is an awesome place to go if you’re looking for links to Italian news, TV, or radio. They also provide a bunch of useful information on Italian basics.

Now with all of these resources, you have no excuse not to get started on your Italian language learning today! If you persist, you will succeed, so dive in and keep swimming until you feel confident in your Italian.


Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis

lrngo users in over 190 countries

A sunset in HoiAn, Vietnam
How to Turn Learning Vietnamese into Knowing Vietnamese
Learning a foreign language always poses some challenges, but if your desire to learn Vietnamese is strong enough, you will master it in time. As long as you stick to the language and put sufficient practice in, your Vietnamese skills will grow. If you’re new to the process of learning, or are looking for ways to better the skills you already have, then take a look at this advice and decide which methods are right for you.

immersion—it isn’t that far-fetched

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it here: immersion is the best way to go when it comes to perfecting a new language. Obviously this is not always feasible, and that does by no means mean that knowing Vietnamese isn’t feasible, but oftentimes this option is understood as more out of reach than it actually is. Many people are not aware of the many opportunities to travel around the world through temporary volunteer and job positions.

Teaching ESL abroad is an excellent way for you to become surrounded by Vietnamese language and culture. You don’t have to have a substantial knowledge of Vietnamese to begin with, and as long as you know English and get certified (check out LRNGO’s ESL/EFL blog posts for more information on that), you will find many opportunities to teach and be taught by your surroundings.

There are also organizations that encourage the interaction of cultures through temporary stays in which you work in exchange for room and board. The work varies greatly and often does not exceed 4 hours daily, as the primary function is to bring cultures together. WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an organization that brings willing volunteers to organic farms worldwide to work and learn. Helpx is a similar site but whose work opportunities vary from bed and breakfast help to house sitting.

Hiring a Tutor

It is certainly best to have human help when it comes to language learning. A tutor can give you valuable guidance and insight on the process of learning Vietnamese, as well as form lessons around what you most need to work on. You can find a tutor by checking out local classifieds, language schools, and colleges, or by browsing Craigslist, WyzAnt, or TutorHunt for opportunities to get tutored face to face or online via video chat.

Get a Language Exchange Partner

If you’d like to have the benefits of a tutor without the price tag, do some research on language exchange partners. Of course, sites like LRNGO allow you to connect with language exchange partners near your or anywhere in the world through video chat. You teach them and they teach you, all for free—simple as that!

Step Beyond the Classroom

It’s great to have guidance by tutors or exchange partners, but it really is up to you how much you actually learn by how much outside effort you put into the process. Languages are not just textbook material, they are made alive by their usage in conversation, literature, film, etc. So pick up a book in Vietnamese or watch a film with Vietnamese subtitles (or a Vietnamese film with English subtitles), read local news, and listen to Vietnamese radio stations. Vietnamese101 is a perfect place for finding some of these materials quickly and easily.

So how do you get from learning Vietnamese to knowing it? By putting yourself out there and practicing the language to its fullest degree by living it—whether you do that in Vietnam or at home, surround yourself with opportunities to practice the language naturally and you will find that knowing Vietnamese will sneak up on you.


Photo Credit: enjosmith

lrngo users in over 190 countries

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