Are you stuck feeling like you understand WAY more than you speak in your target language? Well, in order to improve your speaking skills, you have to actually…speak. 🙈 We know, finding a conversation partner and speaking with them can be tricky and even scary. Lucky for you, we have lots of tips, tricks, and recommendations for that. Here’s our selection of the best language exchange websites where you can find conversation partners to practice your target language. Don’t be shy — let’s get chatting!

Last Updated: 05/17/2024

8 best apps & websites to find conversation partners

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The Best Apps & Websites for Language Exchanges: Where and How to Find Conversation Partners

Where to Find Language Conversation Partners

One of the most effective ways to find a conversation partner is on sites dedicated to language exchange, specifically ones that use the tandem language learning formula.

Since there are so many, choosing one to start with can be difficult. After testing dozens, we’ve picked out the best free sites for language exchange.

*Our team has tested the services mentioned in this article. We recommend them wholeheartedly because we like them and we think they are useful. For the sake of full transparency, we may receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost to you.

 

Tandem

tandem homepage for finding conversation partners

Pros

  • You can use specific settings to determine your user preferences to get the most optimal matches:
      • how they prefer to communicate (text and audio messages, video and audio calls, and/or meeting in person)
      • how much time they can commit to Tandem sessions (in hours per week)
      • if they prefer to use Tandem in the morning, afternoon, or evening
      • and their correction preferences (“every single time I make a mistake”; “only when I make a mistake repeatedly”; “general feedback once in a while is ok, but do not correct every single mistake”)
  • There are tons of members, and many, many active users. After signing up, one of our team members received over 15 messages from potential partners on the first day alone!
  • You can choose between the web interface and the app and switch between them depending on what is most convenient for you.
  • You can purchase language tests for around $3 for an official record of your language level (based on the European Framework scale).

Cons

  • The web interface is not 100% optimized for those who want to find a language partner online, since the “Community” page—where you’ll find users—only offers the options “All members” and “Near me.” As soon as you land this page, you get a ton of native speakers of various languages who are interested in learning various other languages (which makes it a bit prone to gathering people who just want to randomly chat with someone—mostly in English—rather than develop a long-term arrangement).
  • Sometimes having many, many people who want to chat can be overwhelming. Feel free to politely decline requests to chat once you’ve found a few partners you get along well with.

Tandem, named after the term for language exchange or conversation partnership, is an awesome website and app for free language exchanges.

The best way to find a match is to enter your native language in the “Find members or topics” field. In addition to people’s learning preferences—a major plus of Tandem described above—you can also see where they are located, what they are interested in talking about, who their ideal language partner would be, their language goal, and any photos they have added to their profile.

Send messages to people who seem compatible with you. To cut down on undesirable communication, you won’t have the option to call or video call someone unless you have messaged back and forth and/or followed each other.

After you have chatted a few times, you can even leave your partners a “reference” (a short message that appears on their profile about how you enjoyed talking to them), and ask yours to do the same. This helps you appear more credible and get more matches!

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HelloTalk

HelloTalk App

Pros

  • Allows you to practice on your phone, which is convenient since you can practice anywhere, anytime!
  • Social network with chat, audio calls, and integrated video.
  • We especially like the voice message and translation/correction system.
  • Good exchange platform.

Cons

  • Not always easy to find people who are online and active, depending on what time you are available and what language you are learning.
  • Not very suitable for iPads or tablets. It takes a little time to get used to the interface and find all options.

HelloTalk is an app that helps you to find language partners directly on your smartphone or tablet. You can converse over text or send small audio messages (like WhatsApp). You can send an invitation for free and start speaking with native speakers in minutes. Once you reach an appropriate level, you can also do voice or video chats.

This language exchange app also has a whole suite of tools for helping you communicate (written and spoken translations, for example).

More than a million people use HelloTalk web and the HelloTalk language exchange app to speak in over 100 languages. Thanks to the app’s success, it’s transformed itself into a lively social network, with a newsfeed where people post photos, videos, and comments in different languages. It’s a great space for zoning out on social media while practicing your language skills!

MosaTip: This site has a lot of inactive users. To find good conversation partners more easily, set your filter to display only the people who took the time to complete their profile (or who are online).

 

Speaky

Learn languages with Speaky

Pros

  • Easy to find a language partner quickly.
  • The chat system has the ability to correct others’ mistakes and be corrected.
  • The calling system (no need to go through Skype) offers suggestions for topics and questions, a timer, and the ability to take notes.
  • Badges and competitions motivate people to find a language tandem.

Cons

  • The live feature is nice, but it’s hard to see your conversation partner’s level when sorting.
  • We wish there were more added filters and options for choosing the appropriate language partners.
  • You have to register with a Facebook or Gmail account (although it does make signing up easy).

I like the Speaky app because you can start using it very quickly. Registering (using your Facebook or Google account) only takes two minutes.

Additionally, the “live” button makes it very easy to find conversation partners. You can immediately see who’s online and available to chat.

The “Find Friends” menu lets you learn a lot about a potential conversation partner before initiating contact. You can see the languages they speak and those they are studying, their nationality, gender, age, and even their interests. The search engine filter helps you find people who speak your target language as their native language and see the most active members.

The site is completely free and has recently been made accessible on Android.

 

Conversation Exchange

how-to-find-conversation-partners-the-best-language-exchange-sites--tandem-apps-mosalingua

Pros

  • You can search for partners based on the type of exchange you are interested in (i.e. if you want to have voice and/or video calls, you can filter out people who only want to exchange letters).
  • Fast and convenient website.

Cons

  • No integrated video chat, but you can use Skype or another platform of your choice.
  • It is not clear whether a user is online, so you first need to exchange messages.
  • You must send each other messages before starting your language exchange.

On Conversation Exchange, you can choose your preferred language exchange method from the start menu: face-to-face conversation, voice chat, or written correspondence. The search menu allows you to find a language partner to add to your network.

Our team has only used this site to find English-speaking conversation partners, but you’ll have no trouble finding tandems for Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, etc.

When you set up your profile, you select which languages you’re learning and your level. Try to be honest here — putting too low of a level means you won’t make progress, and putting too high a level means you won’t understand your partner. If you can, take a language test to see where you fall on the European Framework (e.g. A2, B1, etc.)

 

MyLanguageExchange

MyLanguageExchange website for finding conversation partners online language exchange community

Pros

  • It’s a well-known site with a large user base (there are close to 3 million members in 133 countries)
  • You can communicate via email or voice chat, which means that you can improve your spoken or written correspondence based on your goals and level.
  • It’s free…

Cons

  • …up to a certain point. To use the site as a discussion platform, you or your language partner will need to have a subscription. You can get around this by swapping contact information for Skype, email, or telephone.
  • The user interface and graphics are quite dated. But really, what’s more important: an interface that’s easy on the eyes, or rich and interesting language exchanges?

MyLanguageExchange is one of the best-known language exchange sites and has quite a good reputation online. There are lots of people to exchange with, and two-thirds of the users are active and have regular exchanges. This is great because, regardless of which site you choose, you’ll end up finding two or three good partners to speak with in the long run. And that’s really all you need to make progress.

The site is similar to the others on this list. You sign up, create a free profile, and set off to meet millions of language learners worldwide.

With MyLanguageExchange, you can filter profiles by country, languages spoken, and age, which helps you find the right language partner.

 

LanguaTalk

LanguaTalk language tutoring platform homepage.

Pros

  • The tutors are language professionals who know how to tailor their lessons to your specific needs. This is especially helpful if you need to improve your skills for a particular reason, such as preparing for an exam or job interview.
  • Tutors are vetted by the site, so you know you’re getting a quality teacher. LanguaTalk is especially selective about the tutors it adds to its directory—it only accepts about 10% of applications.
  • Tutors write a bio and create a video introducing themselves and their specializations; this gives you a feel for their teaching style and personality before booking. Students also get a free credit to use for a trial lesson, so you don’t have to commit to a tutor blindly.

Cons

  • Of course, the major disadvantage of paid conversation lessons as opposed to language exchange is that you’ll have to account for them in your monthly budget. That said, making a small financial commitment can make it more likely that you’ll stick to your language goals. Plus, with LanguaTalk, you know that your tutor is being paid fairly for their services.

Maybe you’re not into the tandem setup and you’d rather focus entirely on your target language. In that case, you may want to consider hiring a tutor. LanguaTalk is our favorite place to find a private (paid) tutor.

It’s a relatively new platform, but it already has lots of tutors who teach 16 languages (at the time of writing, but they’re working on adding more so be sure to check back if the language you want to learn isn’t available). That means you’re very likely to find someone who meets your requirements.

All sessions take place online, so both you and your tutor can log on from the comfort of your home.

 

italki

iTalki Website

Pros

  • Many teachers are available (over 15,000!), so you can find one for your target language easily. If you want to learn a language that isn’t very popular, you’ll have a hard time finding an in-person tutor or school near you, so italki is a great option
  • Lots of filters to choose from to help you narrow down your search. For example, you could search for a native speaker who is a professional teacher, who also speaks English, and who charges less than $20/hour.
  • Tutors can add introduction videos so you can browse and get to know them before you commit to a lesson
  • You can pay as you go or purchase a package of lessons.

Cons

  • Italki focuses mostly on its paid tutoring services, not its free language exchange platform. Avoid it if you’re looking for a true tandem. However, if you compare Italki’s tutoring services to a traditional language school, it’s still a great deal!

Italki used to be a good place to find language partners for free, but the company recently shifted its aim to paid tutoring. There are lots of different tutors available, at very affordable rates. To give you an idea, Luca sometimes takes Portuguese conversation classes for less than $10/hour!

 

How Does Tandem Language Learning Work?

Tandem language learning involves splitting a conversation into two parts: roughly half of it takes place in your native language and the other half in the native language of your partner, that is, your target language. Your partner could be from England, Spain, Portugal, Russia, or anywhere else!

These exchanges are free. The idea is to exchange your time and language expertise. You both give something and get something very valuable in return. It’s a very effective method for practicing a language and making quick and impressive progress.

I’ve been using these sites for a long time. They’re great because they allow me to practice speaking and make friends with people from around the world.

I find conversation partners very helpful both at the beginning of the learning process and later on, when maintaining a learned language. For example, I have many Spanish language exchange partners who help me maintain my level of Spanish.

How to find conversation partners

Simply subscribe to one of these communities to get in touch with people from around the world who, like you, want to learn a language. If you study French, for example, you can find a few conversation partners from France who want to learn English and talk to them in English and French.

While each site’s interface is different, the basic principle is the same:

  1. Sign up on one of the community websites (see our selection above).
  2. Find a conversation partner who speaks your target language and who wants to learn your native language. There are usually lots of filters to help you find people easily. Because your focus is on pronunciation and speaking fluidly, you should aim to speak with somebody whose native language is your target language. Finally, look for somebody with a similar level to you so that you both progress at the same rate. This makes the exchange much more equitable, and fun!
  3. Finally, contact your prospective partner! (Don’t worry—we’ve prepared a guide for getting started.)

Before starting your first conversation, be sure to download our FREE language phrasebooks and review the basics for speaking in French, Spanish, Italian, German or Portuguese.

 

Tips: Taking Your First Steps

Once you’ve picked a language exchange site, it’s time to jump in! When this article first came out, several of you wrote us asking for tips on taking your first steps and, especially, the best way to take advantage of this method. Here are our best tips to help you get started:

  1. Find conversation partners at your level

    This is key. If you want to make progress, it’s essential to find a language partner at about the same level in their target language as yours. This way, you can advance together at the same pace, and it will be equally rewarding and challenging for both of you.

  2. Do some preparation before diving in

    Before starting your first conversation, you can prepare some material you may need. A dual dictionary with English and your target language is a good thing to have handy. Use an online one and keep the tab open so you can find words quickly (e.g. English/French or English/Spanish dictionary).

    You should also check out one of our conversation guides. Again, keep it open and at hand.

  3. Set some ground rules from the get-go

    It’s all in the interest of good fun, of course! Remember that this exercise should be fun.

    Nonetheless, it’s good to set some ground rules, especially concerning the time spent in one language or another. Otherwise, you risk becoming an amateur English teacher or taking advantage of somebody’s kindness (or poor time management skills…) — neither of which is the goal here!

    You can split it up as you like: 50/50 each session, one in English and one in your target language, or swap every 10 or 15 minutes. You can even alternate your phrases: you speak in your target language, and your partner responds in English!

    It’s up to you, but deciding all this at the beginning will help you get into a good rhythm. It will also help you figure out if you “click” well.

  4. Introduce yourself to your conversation partners and find common interests

    During your first exchanges, you’ll want to start by introducing yourself and asking some of the standard questions: Where are you from? What’s your line of work? How long have you been studying English?

    To quickly find new, more interesting subjects, don’t hesitate to ask your interlocutor what they’d like to do in life and why they’ve decided to learn English. The point is to find common interests in these first few exchanges that will allow you to have enriching conversations moving forward.

  5. Learn how to react even when you’re not sure how to respond

    One last thing before your language exchange. You should learn the most essential phrases for expressing yourself, especially things like: “Can you please repeat yourself?” or “How do you say _____?” This will allow you to have a fluid back-and-forth, even when you don’t understand everything 100%.

    You can find all these important phrases in Explore > Categories > The Basics > Starting a Conversation in your MosaLingua app. Learn them, and keep them at hand while chatting with your conversation partners.

For even more great information and to get ready for your language exchange, check out our article on the Seven Golden Rules of Studying with a Language Partner.

 

Want to Know More? Watch Our Videos with Tips and Essential Info About Conversation Partners!

How to practice with conversation partners

Finding the right site is only half the battle. To considerably improve your speaking skills, you need to have frequent conversations with your conversation partner(s).

In this video, Alizah discusses the importance of language exchange sites for practicing a language without ever leaving your house. She also offers three great tips for making friends with people on the other side of the world and explains how to make rapid progress by speaking in your target language.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for lots more great content, techniques, tips, and exercises for improving in your target language and having fun: Subscribe to the MosaLingua YouTube channel.

 

Everything you need to know about language exchanges with conversation partners

Finding a language partner and jumping into your language exchange doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow the advice in this video, and be sure to have fun! You can find it on our YouTube channel, or watch it here:

 

Listen to our MosaLingua Language Lab episode on how to prep for your first conversation:

Listen to “#55 – Prepare For Your First Conversations in English (or Other Foreign Languages)” on Spreaker.

 

Sum It Up: How and Where to Find Conversation Partners for Language Practice

In our opinion, the best language exchange website is Tandem, which also has a great app for chatting with your language partners on the go.

The best language exchange app is HelloTalk, and LanguaTalk is the best site for finding affordable language tutors. However, this may depend on personal taste, so try them out and pick the one you like best.

All these sites are very useful, and you’ll easily find conversation partners with them. Many other language exchange sites offer similar services, but we wanted to give you the best to save you time.

For the sake of completeness, I’ll mention those that didn’t seem as good or functional when we wrote this article. For instance, Verbling (which used to be free but now is paid), Livemocha, Busuu, 12Speak, and Free4Talk (which is primarily for English learners). My Happy Planet is decent but not yet available for many languages. Some sites, like Polyglot Club, appear to be best suited for people who prefer offline interactions.

Also, be sure to sign up for our FREE language learning kit that covers all the basics of your target language.

The next article is devoted to practicing a foreign language by meeting people in the real world.

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