Top 10 tested ideas for Language Exchanges
Language Exchange programs have been recognized as a very effective means to complement the learning of new language, especially the oral or verbal communication part. It could be face to face or virtual interaction between two people over internet but the end result is the same. Your ears get used to learning the pronunciation of foreign language and it effortlessly adds numerous new words to your vocabulary. Through such learning exchange programs, the learner gains confidence to articulate in the foreign language. The free and frank exchanges also foster intercultural understanding.
Usually, the topic selected for conversation for each weekly session of language exchange program is general in nature and it is recommended to fix the topic in advance for next scheduled interaction. This helps in setting the mood for the session and gives opportunity to learn new words as well.
We present here the following 10 ideas which could be useful for the language exchange participants. Our experience suggests that the discussion on these topics could make the conversation congenial as well as indulgent and of course more fruitful.
1. Communication Styles:
The discussion on the topic could hover around the usual styles of verbal as well as non-verbal communication in the foreign culture including the body language signals. How do they greet? The understanding of use of pronoun “You” in the culture is also important since in many languages, different pronouns are used to address the elderly, subordinate, friend or family. Is it okay to show affection in public? The different ways of expressing gratitude to people etc can also be discussed.
2. Family & Personal relationships:
Every culture has its own set of value system when it comes to structure and bonding of family members. You can converse about the role of grandparents in the family or the age at which children are expected to be independent. How often they meet at family dinners or the family celebration events in their culture.
3. Education System:
Since this topic will be of interest to both the participants, you can discuss it at great lengths depending upon your individual preferences. At what age the kids go to school? What is the life at school or college? How is the education funded? Do college students have income opportunities?
4. Food Habits:
Just like languages, every culture has distinct gastronomic habits. It will be interesting to know about the food habits of the foreign culture. Which is their main meal of the day? Do they have one course or multiple course dinners? How much does it cost to eat food outside? Whether they prefer tea with milk or black coffee as their beverage? How much you need to leave as tip after eating out? Special cuisines they have during celebrations like Christmas or other festivals?
5. Clothing Styles:
The chat on fashion can be engaging. One can ask about the standard clothing that men or women wear on the streets. The most popular fashion brands in apparel sector as well as the trends in piercing or tattoo. Is it okay to wear informally for tourists on the streets?
6. Tourist Places:
One can learn about the places of tourist interest in the native’s city or country. It could be historic monuments or religious site or natural scenic spots like waterfalls. One can augment the knowledge by knowing these spots in detail. The souvenirs that the tourists collect and its significance can also be known during the session.
One can indulge in the wide discussion on this topic. The usual mode of transport in that country like cars or bikes as well as the ease of travel through public transport and availability of rental cars there can be understood. The connectivity through the air route or trains for foreign tourists and the cost of travel like hotel room rents can be discussed.
The dwelling preferences also vary a lot and could be interesting to discuss. For example, the cost of living in an apartment and the prevailing terms for taking it on rent or lease can be illuminating. Is it easy to get accommodation easily for students or foreigners? The other allied expenses like electricity or gas or other utilities can also be discussed.
9. Movies & Music:
One can discuss about the movies that are made there and the famous singers or albums in that language. One can try to download the recommended films or music and enjoy them at your laptop.
10. Sports & Games:
One can connect well by asking the favorite sports played in that country. The international athletes famous there and sports culture in the country can give many common talking points.
The above mentioned ideas will certainly help the participants to engage in meaningful exchanges which will be of mutual interest.
Si repites los intercambios con la misma persona, os iréis conociendo y después ya podréis pactar temas para cada sesión de intercambio de idioma.
Realmente no importa de lo que hables con tu intercambio, lo importante es que hables, que mejores con la práctica y vayas sacando ventaja de poder practicar con un hablante nativo.
If you want to learn more, check this article about how to have a language exchange.