Finding A Language Exchange Partner

First and foremost, I’d like to thank those you left comments on my recent rant about my Korean speakings skills. I was just feeling crappy that day so I wrote my crappy thoughts down. I was surprised by the comments, especially the lengthy ones. It does made me feel better, made me think and made me want to do better. Thanks guys! I wish there’s a like button on comments too! 🙂

Following most of the suggestions, I think it’s time for me to find a language exchange partner. Actually I’m quite envious with some bloggers who have really great language exchange partners. I guess it’s a good idea to start looking for one.

Actually I have lots of Korean friends. Some were exchange students I’ve met in our university and some were my schoolmates from CNU when I was on exchange. Some were friends of friends. But most of them are from Kim Sun Ah’s fandom ^^ and they were my closest friends. Some foreigner fans of Kim Sun Ah also studied/are studying Korean so I also get to talk to them in Korean (since they claim they don’t speak English/they refuse to speak English and I don’t speak their native languages and they don’t speak mine). With that being said, I actually shouldn’t have any problems finding someone to practice my Korean with. True. And not. Yes I often contact them and I often get to talk to them through email, our fancafe, facebook and on kakaotalk. But we are not close enough to call each other regularly and I’m sure they are all busy so I don’t want to bother them. Thus my writing and reading skills keeps getting better while my speaking skill is left behind.

I’ve tried looking for a language exchange partner before via Sharedtalk. After talking to few people I deleted my account because I found a partner. A very sweet 11-year old girl XD. She’s very enthusiastic in Skype video call. She likes talking and I like talking to her as well. But it didn’t work well. She even made schedules for us but whenever it’s our schedule to practice English she’ll suddenly stop being talkative and then will start talking in Korean. I get to talk in Korean, yes, but I get bored. Well, kids are kids so she only talks about the same thing over and over. We also can’t keep time because she wants to talk longer and I only want/need about 30mins of talk time because I’m very busy. Though it didn’t work out for us when it comes to language exchange, we became really good friends until now. She’s actually the reason why I was able to go to Lotte World. She bought me tickets and keeps buying me stuff and accessories while we were there. I still talk to her if we have time. Not in a language-exchange way but just as friends. Since then I never tried looking for another language-exchange partner – until yesterday.

So yesterday I tried my luck once more in finding a language exchange partner. I made a new account in Sharedtalk again and I also went to Interpals and Iaminkorea. I browsed some members and sent a few messages to some members.

I’m looking for a female partner because I often feel 어색하다 with males. It would be nice if it’s an 언니. And of course someone willing to talk via Skype regularly and is not just looking for friendship but someone really serious in language exchange. I don’t want to just be able to practice Korean. I also want to help them. I don’t want it to be a one-way exchange.

I saw many comments online saying it’s difficult to find Korean friends online. Many foreigners said they sent messages but never gets a reply. So I was surprised that since yesterday I kept receiving messages and emails. Was it because of how I wrote my profile? I wrote it 100% in Korean. And I guess mentioning I an online English tutor gave me an edge? XD

My first language partner is actually a guy and younger than me. Opposite of what I was looking for initially. But he is very enthusiastic about the idea of having a language exchange partner. We exchange email messages and chatted a lot before we started talking in Skype. Another good thing about him, he’s actually attending an online English tutorial – similar to where I work – so the idea of free talk via Skype is not new to him so we were able to start right away. Some Koreans I’ve talked with feels awkward in talking right away and wants us to get to know each other by email first, correcting each other’s mistake and the likes and do skype if we are more comfortable with each other. Though it’s a good idea, as I’ve mentioned I have many friends with whom I can practice my Korean writing with. I need to practice talking right away. So far I am enjoying my first partner’s talk time. We talked in English yesterday and we talked in Korean today. His Korean voice is actually very nice. It felt like talking to TTMIK’s Hyun Woo. And he is good in matching my pace and correcting my mistakes – something my 11-year old partner wasn’t able to do. He also have loads of time these days. Looks like we can hit it off. I just hope we can have matching schedule when a new semester starts in Korea next month.

I’m still getting to know and trying to figure out schedules for 2, 3 other female Koreans. I think all of them were serious too. One of them is 2 years younger than me and is also taking online English lessons so we can drop the formalities and we’ll start right away. The other one is an 언니 and fairly serious about this too. I feel very comfortable talking to her via email so I’m looking forward to talk to her. But she’s pretty new to the whole language-exchange and skype thing so we’ll take it slowly (actually I’ll wait for her to install skype). She also seems busy so we might not be talking in a regular basis. It’s okay though because I think my first 2 partners are enough. The third one is also an 언니 but haven’t replied to me again.

There are many more others. I’m tempted to talk to them too but I know I don’t have the luxury of time. I’ll send them replies and if they are really serious I’m pretty sure they’ll keep contacting me. It’s not bad to have new friends, but I might have to sign out of the language exchange websites soon before my inbox gets full.

So far, among the language exchange sites, my favorite is Iaminkorea. I’ve met a number of serious language exchange partners there. If you are looking for one, try that website. 🙂