Japanese/English Language exchange (Part 2 Opinion)

Hello language learners!

In the time since I last wrote part 1, on what not to do in Japanese Language exchange, I’ve come up with a few more things that kind of ruin the experience pr make it better.  There’s a lot that can be said on this topic because everyone experiences different things, and people who attend are different. Feel free to agree or disagree with my thoughts.


  1. Not speaking Japanese or English.  If you’re there to practice speaking but shy away from doing so, then you miss out on the opportunity to improve.  Sometimes it’s just that you don’t know what to talk about and the whole situation becomes awkward. What works for me is having a guided language exchange session where the partners prepare something for each other. For instance, maybe the Japanese learner prepared a set of questions and activities around a theme, that get you talking. The reverse of that you also help the English learner, speak within the context of a theme. Themes can include, restaurants, shopping, going out, school, work etc. These themes introduce different settings which invite speakers to use certain vocabulary and expressions. This saves you way more time than asking random questions just to find a hook to go off on. 
  2. Can I request something? If you notice your partner isn’t using a language they’re supposed to be practicing, then please encourage them and help them out. Don’t be silent and let them keep helping just you. Remember they are participating in the language exchange for a reason.  Maybe they’re too shy or they don’t know what to talk about. I invite you to be the one who asks them questions. Do whatever, don’t just stick to one language. 
  3. Be conscious of how you speak to people. I know a Japanese person who once had a exchange partner talk in a way that was condescending.  Be mindful that language is also part of a persons culture and there are ways your partner was raised to perceive things. If they do bring up concern with the way you speak then try to be considerate. 
  4. one-on-one language exchanges have been way better for me than groups.  First of all, I find it hard just to speak in front of one person, and when surrounded by strangers my confidence just crashes down. And let me not get started when the group is already friends. That leaves you being even more distant. If I’m going to make mistakes speaking, I’d rather have one person witness it than a crowd that’s going to just talk to each other and laugh.  If you do meet someone one-on-one commonsense would have it that you should meet in public. Just need to state that in case….


Well that’s it for today. What do you guys think about it? What do you recommend works, or doesn’t? Share in the comments!


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