Just by speaking to real people, your confidence comes on in leaps and bounds.
In our interconnected world, it is easier than you might expect to find a language partner.
In my experience, taxi drivers are always happy to exchange words in their language and have a lot of patience if you are a beginner. For a set time, you have a designated speaking lesson with a native tutor. If in the Middle East or North Africa, I simply greet them in Arabic. If I am in an English speaking country, I normally chat a little in English and then ask where they are from. Even if it is not a country where I speak the language, you can still learn a lot about their language! For example, I recently learned about Somali – how it has many sounds that are similar to Arabic. Whether in your hometown or whilst travelling abroad, taxis provide a fantastic opportunity to practice listening and speaking with a non-judgmental partner.
Local Restaurant and Shop Staff
Learning a language is about more than just grammar. It is also a wonderful way to discover culture and food. In most cities there is a range of different restaurants and local shops offering food and products from abroad. The waiter or shop assistant might not always speak the language you are learning but often you can find a good language partner. Being curious about the available foods can also be a very good conversation starter. This kind of communication could develop into a regular opportunity to practise your language.
Check what volunteering opportunities are available in your hometown. This can be an excellent way to both give back to your community whilst also enabling you to meet native speakers of your chosen language. For example, in Edinburgh, Scotland, there is the Welcoming Association which pairs up volunteers with new arrivals to the city.
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