Your listening and comprehension have gotten loads better, but now you want to practice speaking German, which is still much harder for you than reading and writing.
So talk with a native German speaker! Conversing with native speakers is one of the most important steps in acquiring a new language, and it can rapidly increase your rate of learning.
But where do you find someone to talk to, especially if you’re not in a German-speaking country and won’t be anytime soon?
Luckily, the internet makes it possible to immerse yourself in a new language without even leaving your home. There are a number of awesome services out there that make it easy to find a German language partner.
The following list will show you how and where to find real people with whom you can speak German.
12 Great Ways to Find a Partner for German Language Exchange
German teachers available: 200+
italki is an online language learning service that helps you find teachers from around the world. You can study one-on-one with native speakers who are either professionals or language enthusiasts. The platform enables you to take classes from the convenience of your home, cafe, or wherever you have an internet connection.
Signing up to italki is free, while the lessons, however, are not. Teachers are compensated in ITC, italki credits, 10 of which equal $1. Prices vary from teacher to teacher and can range from $5 to $35 per hour. Language tutors post their schedule online and the service makes it easy to sign up for classes.
Members: 2 million+
Many people who use Couchsurfing are searching for a place to sleep in a foreign city. However, what’s lesser known is that the website can also be helpful in finding language partners.
The majority of Couchsurfing members don’t actually host, but rather have their status set to “Coffee or a drink“. In the advanced search function you can find potential language partners simply by selecting your current city and setting “language” to your target language (in this case German). With over two million members on Couchsurfing, success is very likely. Plus, it’s free!
3. My Language Exchange
Native German speaking members: 1,090
MyLanguageExchange.com is a free service that helps connect like-minded language learners from all over the world. The platform has over 1 million members from more than 133 countries and features 115 languages that are being practiced, including German.
The main idea behind MLE is to find penpals to practice with via email. Besides that, the site also offers inbuilt text chat. Although voice and video chat is not part of the site itself, meeting native speakers to hang out with on Skype shouldn’t pose much of a problem.
4. The Mixxer
Members who speak German: ca. 2700
The Mixxer is a free educational site for language learners hosted by Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Their service is designed to connect people around the globe for one-on-one language meetups via Skype.
The design of the website is very basic and puts functionality before decor. The plain look, however, should not distract from the fact that it hosts a large and active community of people eager to improve and practice their language skills.
5. Polyglot Club
Members who teach German: ca. 500
As the name suggests, this site is a gathering of people who can speak several languages each. The Polyglot Club has over 400,000 members, is completely free, and allows you to find other language enthusiasts in your city and attend regular club meetings.
It also makes it easy to find people nearby who teach your desired language and/or want to learn what you are offering. The site goes so far as to let you search for the type of chat software others are available on to make getting in contact with them even easier.
Members offering German: 1,400+
The Germany-based service Tandempartner.net is actually part of a bigger network that helps users look for private tutors. However, it also comes with a search function for language partners. You can find partners for all sorts of language combinations and filter them based on location, age, gender, experience and availability.
Although the website is aimed at finding people on-site in Germany, it also has an “online tandem” check box for location-independent language exchanges. The basic usage of the service is free, but to contact potential language partners, users need a paid premium membership.
7. Tandem Partners
Members offering German: 5,600+
Despite the similarity in name, TandemPartners.org is not related to the previous resource. It is another free service that connects language learners with each another, and is quite substantial with over 30,000 members.
The usage of the site is straightforward: sign up, select source and target language, post an ad, browse for other members, meet and talk. A special feature of Tandempartners.org is that is offers its own integrated video chat instead of relying on Skype, as many of the other services do. At the moment the service is free of charge, but it looks like it might be monetized some time in the future – so get on it now!
Members offering German: Unknown
The website with the name SprachDuo, which means “language duo”, is a project by the European Student Forum in Munich. Primarily used by German university students, SprachDuo helps people find language partners based on source and target language, city and age.
Because it is based in Munich, most members are located either there or in other cities of Germany. However, there are still some international members as well. With about 1,600 user logins per month, the site is relatively small, but might still be worth a look.
Members offering German: Unknown
Meetup.com is best known as a networking service to help people with similar interests form local communities. Luckily that includes language learning. Almost all major cities have language exchange groups available.
Many of these groups organize regular meetings, which you can join easily. It’s a good way not only to find language partners, but to get to know new people in general. You can also contact individual members to see if they are interested in partnering up for language classes.
German-speaking members: Unknown
If you want to learn German but have no way of actually traveling to a German-speaking country, InterNations can help you find German speakers who decided to come to you instead. It is a networking platform for expats active in 190 countries and almost 400 cities.
People who choose to go abroad are usually open and happy to meet locals, make connections and share a bit of their own culture, so establishing contacts should be easy enough. The service is free, however, new members have to be approved. Besides InterNations, other local expat organizations are also a good place to look.
Craigslist is not just for selling furniture or finding roommates. With its international presence, the site is a great way to find language partners. The “Community” section is a good place to look for existing German conversation tables or language exchange ads. Craislist is also a great place to look for German tutors if you want lessons, but don’t want to teach one yourself in exchange.
Good keywords to use in your ad are “language exchange” or “language partner” in both English and German. Don’t forget to mention which languages you are offering, as that is what others will be searching for. Apart from that, keep your eyes peeled for the classifieds section in local magazines or online directories, as these are usually good addresses too.
12. Bulletin Boards
Partners for language exchanges are not only found online. Good old paper can also do the trick. The old-school way of printing out ads and posting them on notice boards still works.
If you choose to go the paper route, bulletin boards in universities are a good place to start. Aim for faculties that either teach your target language, or a language you can offer. You could also try posting ads at dorms for international students.
And One More Thing…
If you like learning conversational German, you don’t want to miss the FluentU app. The FluentU app takes great videos and turns them into language learning experiences so that you can learn real German as people really speak it:
Watching a fun video, but need help understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts.
You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. Every definition has examples that have been carefully written for learners. You can add words to vocab lists.
And FluentU isn’t just for watching videos. It’s a complete learning platform. It’s designed to teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. This is true personalization that really works.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.