Places to Find Language Exchange Partners

Participating in a language exchange can be a fun way to make friends and practice your target languages. While many of these are apps, I also do have a few events that are specific to Michigan State students as well. 

HelloTalk 

HelloTalk is a free app that allows you to input your specific target language and find pretty much anyone who speaks it. The free version restricts the amount of languages you can add, but I have had some really good conversations on here. It’s actually where I met my best friend with whom I still language exchange with to this day. There is a possibility that people will not respond, but don’t give up!

HiNative 

For any questions you have about the culture of your target language, this is a pretty good app. You can ask native speakers questions and they usually respond quickly. I used this app for a while, but while nothing panned out for me a few of my friends made some good partners on here. 

Tandem

On this app, I had good and bad experiences. I wanted to practice my Korean, and I met a lot of people that claimed to know Korean — but were actually just saying they knew it because there were a lot of people who were learning Korean on the app and figured they could get partners easily that way. When I was actually able to speak to people in my target language, I had some really good conversations! A few of them ended up going to MSU as well so it was much easier to practice. 

OISS Coffee Hour 

This is mainly for MSU students and the people in the surrounding area — but it is such a good time! I have gone here with my friends who are international students and domestic students which kept me feeling comfortable but still allowed me to interact with people from all over the world. It was here that I got a lot of good advice and was able to meet people I will continue to connect with when I go abroad next year. Many of my international student friends have said they had a lot of fun being able to use English and connect with people at MSU and just in the community in general. 

Bridge

I personally have never used Bridge, but many of my friends have. One of my friends said that he loves to go because the people he became friends with there make him feel comfortable and welcome. As an international student, it was very important for him to feel comfortable when making language exchange partners, and for him and other international students he knows, Bridge did that. 

Just like with everything else you do online, please be vigilant and don’t share anything that could put yourself in a bad place. While some language exchanges do not work out, I do recommend that if you really want to get a better grasp on a language that you at least try it out. For me and many other people, language exchange created some long lasting friendships and some lasting relationships as well. As always though, do whatever makes YOU feel comfortable.