I have a partner. Now what?

1.  Contact your partner by email

  • Look at your online profiles and schedules and suggest a day and time for your first meeting
  • Talk about
    • how often you want to meet
    • if you will always meet at the same time and place or will the schedule vary
    • which social media or online tools will you use; what are your usernames
    • if your conversations are required for a language class 

2.  Set your own goals

  • Think about why this particular language is important to you. Is it the language itself? Culture? Job opportunities?
  • Focus on vocabulary and communicative functions appropriate to your proficiency level.  For example,
    • Beginners can
      • Meet with a native speaker and practice pronunciation and learn new vocabulary.
      • Learn about culture and appropriate ways of behaving in different situations
    •  Intermediate level learners can:
      • Extend and build vocabulary, especially for familiar or frequently-used topics or items
      • Learn about the diversity of cultures in the country/countries that speak the target language
      • Perfect use of simple verb tenses, and work on becoming more comfortable using complex tenses (present perfect, past perfect, conditional, subjunctive) or cases
      • Improve ability to talk about a topic for several sentences (1 paragraph)
    • Advanced level learners can:
      • Learn idiomatic expressions
      • Learn about dialectical differences that exist within the language
      • Perfect grammar, including complex verb tenses and less-commonly-used cases
      • Become comfortable expressing hypothetical situations
      • Improve ability to converse about a topic at length (over the course of several paragraphs)
      • Develop your ability to speak and write in different registers, i.e., formally or informally, and to people of different social status

3.  Prepare for your conversation

  • Choose a few topics you want to discuss.  Write down several examples of what you can tell your partner about that topic, based on your own experience.  What questions could you ask your partner?
  • Review vocabulary for the topic and write down some key phrases.  For example, if you are going to a museum, you may want to review the vocabulary for the arts and know words like canvas, paint, photography, and sculpture. You may also want to review adjectives in the target language so you can more appropriately discuss the work rather than just saying everything “is beautiful.”
  • Review and write down a few phrases to help keep the conversation flowing.  Help your partner by asking follow-up questions.  For examples, check out our resources page.