1. Find a language partner.
2. Schedule or have a conversation with a partner.
3. Find and contact more partners.
In this lesson you learn how to use one of the most important free functions of italki: how to meet people around the world. These people you can easily meet can help you practice daily to achieve your Spanish language goals. And a great thing about this is that you can tailor your learning needs to the region or country that most interests you.
1. Find a language partner
This lesson is about finding a language partner. This is an important part of both italki and learning Spanish. A language partner is a great way ask questions about anything you need help with, learn from real people, find out more about the culture and what life is like as well.
Language partners have a cost though, but not in money. The cost is that your language partners will expect that you help them with English. So your cost is time. You should plan on spending as much time or more helping them learn English, than you spend with them learning Spanish.
As you begin your language journey, focus on learning about the people and culture before you begin learning the language.
And remember one important thing, most language partners are not teachers so just like you may not be able to explain the rules for using different verb tenses (or even know verb tense names), your partner might not be able to explain those items in Spanish. Just work with your partner talking about their life, their culture and their interests.
So for today’s action, use italki to find a language partner. Under the Community menu option on italki, select Language Partners (the first option within Community).
You will see this screen:
From here, you can browse people to meet, or filter through more people using the menu options:
I like to look for native speakers of Spanish and I sometimes choose speakers from a specific country if I’m interested in learning more about that country.
To find only native speakers be sure to check this box next to the pink/fuchsia BROWSE button:
Once you narrow your search options with the filter, look for someone who is online right now, if available. You can tell because of the little green circle (like the green of a traffic light), next to the person’s name (see examples below).
Here are a few examples:
When you identify a person to reach out to, click on their photo or name and hit follow (remember you did this when you followed me and Diana). Write a quick note to the person mentioning that you are just starting to learn about Spanish and would like to learn more about the person’s culture and language. You should also mention that you can help with their English too.
This step to follow others is important since you must both follow each other to then use italki’s chat option.
2. Schedule or have a conversation with a partner
After you have both accepted the friend requests and exchanged a few messages (if both of you are online and writing, this is almost instantaneous), you can suggest moving to Skype where you both can talk and see each other. It is not possible to speak with or see someone through video within italki, so Skype (or any similar program) is needed to continue a conversation.
Since not everyone will respond to your friend requests, it may take a few tries to find someone right away to chat with however, you will most likely find someone quickly. As a Spanish beginner, it is best if you find someone who can already communicate in English. This allows you to help them, and still be able to communicate. They can then teach you some Spanish basics.
And don’t forget to help them learn English!