TEFL Opportunity: Language Exchange

What is it?
Language exchange is when you meet with a local and “exchange” English lessons/conversation for lessons/conversation in their language.

Why do it?
To get extra (or any at all) practice of the local language where you’re living – also it’s essentially free. It can also be an opportunity to talk with someone from a very different background.

How to arrange it?
The most obvious place to start looking for a language exchange partner would be in your school – locals who teach English may feel a bit offended if you imply that they need English practice (though it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they might see it as a benefit, but I’d still wait for the person to approach you) but perhaps there is a staff member – receptionist or other – who has the time and inclination. ESL base has a Language Exchange section where you can find a partner to talk with via skype. You might also take out ads in a local paper. Working with a student could be tricky – most teachers are forbidden from teaching school students privately, and even though you wouldn’t be making money, there might be the appearance of something not quite right.

Who to choose?

Someone you like and get on well with is obviously important. If you can choose a language teacher, or even just a person who seems to think logically or is able to see things from another perspective, that’s also good. But remember: teaching your own language is no simple task, especially if the learner (you in this case!) is a complete beginner. English language textbooks and resources abound; for other languages not so much. So be sympathetic and consider adapting Engilsh language beginner materials to the target language.