50 Language Exchange Topics to Keep the Conversation Flowing for Days
When it comes to language exchange, you need more than an interesting enough partner who speaks your target language and is learning your native language.
In fact, you’ll also need a variety of topics to discuss, and we’ve got loads to keep the conversation flowing.
We’ve compiled more than 50 language exchange topics you might want to try out.
Remember to always base your questions on what you know about your partner and what they will be comfortable with. What’s appropriate to ask can often vary by culture, so always take that into consideration.
Let’s get started!
- Getting to Know You
- Life Where You Live
- Travel and Transportation
- Current Events
- Goals and Accomplishments
- Observing Language Exchange Topics in Real Life
- And One More Thing...
Getting to Know You
This topic is a mainstay of any language exchange. After all, it provides you with varied vocabulary practice and helps you get to know your partner better.
However, lots of new exchanges fizzle out after the basics have been covered. Here are some getting-to-know-you questions you may not have considered.
- If you could be the same age forever, what age would you choose? Why?
- How old were you when you…
…learned to drive?
…moved away from home?
…had your first kiss?
…got your first job?
- How old do you think you’ll be when you…
- Describe your family.
- What do you think is the ideal family size? Why?
- Do you have any children?
- Do you want to have children? If so, how many?
- If you want children, would you prefer boys or girls? Why?
- How close are you with…
…extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins)?
- What do you do when you get together with your family?
- What do you like most about your job?
- What do you dislike about your job?
- If you could have any job, what would it be? Why?
- What job would you most hate doing? Why?
- If you could go back and choose a different career, what would you choose? Why?
- What was your favorite subject in school? Why?
- What was your least favorite subject in school? Why?
- Looking back, what subjects do you wish you’d studied?
- Do you value university education? Why or why not?
- Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
- What languages do you wish you spoke?
- What languages do you think would be the hardest to learn?
- What languages have you tried to learn?
- What are your favorite words or phrases in languages you’ve studied?
Living Situation (Where, with Whom, etc.)
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
- Describe your current apartment/house.
- Describe your ideal apartment/house.
- Do you have roommates? What are the best and worst things about having them?
- Do you have any pets?
- If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you choose?
- What names would you consider giving a pet?
Life Where You Live
Discussing life where your partner lives not only helps you understand their life, but it also gives you valuable cultural insight, making this topic ideal for language exchange.
Culture is fairly all-encompassing, so here are a few questions that don’t quite fit into other categories.
- Do you have any good jokes you can share?
- What sorts of stories did your parents tell you when you were little?
- How important are good manners?
- What sorts of things do you need to do to be considered polite?
- How do you greet strangers?
- How do you greet your friends and family?
- What’s your favorite food?
- What’s your favorite dish to make? How do you make it?
- What foods do you hate?
- What sort of food would you most like to try?
- What foods are popular where you live?
Of course, it’s wise to tread lightly on this topic. This Jezebel article gives some tips on how to approach the topic.
- What religion is most common where you live?
- What other religions are practiced where you live?
- How is religion viewed where you live?
- What’s your favorite holiday?
- What holiday do you think is least important?
- If you could start your own holiday, what would be celebrated? How would you celebrate?
- What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
- What holiday do you think is most popular where you live?
- What do people do for fun on nice days?
- What do people do for fun when the weather is bad?
- What do people like to do when they get together with friends?
- What do people like to do when they get together with family?
- What do you do for fun by yourself?
Society and Government
This is another topic to tread lightly around. Some people will avoid topics that could make them look like political dissidents, so try not to put them in an uncomfortable position.
- Do you vote? If so, how often? How do you place your vote?
- How is your town/city run? (e.g. mayor, council, etc.)
- What problems is your community/city/country facing?
- What problems are you most concerned about?
- What’s a comfortable wage in your country?
- How much does an apartment/house cost?
- Do people where you live put money in the bank or keep it at home?
- Do people often invest where you live? If so, what do they invest in?
- Is it important to save money? Why or why not?
- Where do you receive most of your healthcare?
- Who pays for your healthcare?
- For how many years do most people go to school in your country?
- How long is a standard school day?
- What subjects do students study in school?
- What’s school lunch like?
- What’s the terrain like where you live? (e.g. deserts, plains, forests, mountains, lakes, etc.)
- What sort of bad weather do you have? (e.g. blizzards, thunderstorms, monsoons, tornadoes, tsunamis, droughts, etc.)
- What’s your climate like?
- Tell me about your city.
- How are city streets organized? (e.g. grid, winding, etc.)
- Where are…
- What part of town is busiest?
Lifestyle can give you a lot of insight into how your language partner lives and how others in their community live. Plus, it’s always super fun to consider what life is like around the world.
- How many bedrooms are in apartments/houses where you live?
- How many bathrooms do apartments/houses usually have?
- How many people usually share an apartment/house?
- What’s in the kitchen where you live?
- Do most apartments/houses have outdoor space?
- What’s your average day like? How does it compare to an average day for others in your country?
- What time do people wake up?
- What time do people go to bed?
- What do people do on weekends?
Fashion varies wildly between countries and even regions within countries. Discussing fashion can provide you with thematic vocabulary and also prepare you not to look like a total dork if you ever choose to visit.
If you need a little more prep work, you can always look at photos of international fashion shows from Elle to get an idea of the world fashion scene.
- How would you describe your personal style?
- What fashion trends do you like?
- What fashion trends do you hate?
- If you could only wear one outfit every day, what would it be?
- What outfit do you think looks best on you?
- If you could copy someone else’s style, would you? If so, whose?
- Do you prefer formal or informal dress? Why?
- Where do people like to shop?
- How much do people buy in one shopping trip?
- How do people pay for their purchases?
- Is shopping fun or a chore?
- Tell me about the most popular stores where you live.
- What do you do each morning to ensure you look your best?
- If you had to change your hairstyle, what new hairstyle would you choose?
A lot of people spend their free time engaged in hobbies, and they’re a popular topic of conversation when getting to know someone or making small talk. They can reflect both cultural and individual preferences.
- If you could play any sport professionally, what would it be?
- What sport do you like the least?
- If you could create your own sport, what would it be?
- What instrument do you wish you could play?
- What style of art do you like best?
- If you could hang a famous painting on your wall, which would you choose? Why?
- What’s your favorite game?
- Have you ever made up a game? If so, what was it like?
- What game would you choose to play to liven up a party?
While technology has made an undeniable impact on the world, its usage and purpose aren’t consistent among different regions.
Discussing technology will help you learn some valuable terms that may not be in conventional language textbooks and understand the role technology plays in your language exchange partner’s life.
- What do you use your computer for?
- If you had to go a week without a computer, could you?
- What do you use your phone for?
- What’s your favorite feature of your phone?
- What do you find most annoying about your phone?
- What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?
- Do you feel social media has improved the world? Why or why not?
- What tech gadget is your favorite?
- What new tech gadget would you most like to own?
- What new technology would you most like to become available? (e.g. time travel device, another new iPhone, self-replenishing ice cream tub, etc.)
Everyone enjoys some form of entertainment, so why not talk about your favorite entertainment with a language exchange partner?
You’ll pick up some common vocabulary and your conversation partner might even turn you on to some great entertainment you’d never considered, so it’s a win-win!
- What’s the best movie you’ve ever seen?
- What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
- Who would you want cast as you in a movie about your life?
- If you see a movie in a theater, do you purchase snacks? If so, what?
- If you had to watch one TV show on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What TV character do you wish you could hang out with?
- What music genre is your favorite?
- Who’s your favorite singer/musician?
- What singer/musician could you listen to all day without getting annoyed?
- What book genre is your favorite?
- What’s your favorite book?
- What book protagonist do you have the most in common with?
- If you want a night out, where do you go?
- When you go out with a group, who pays?
Travel and Transportation
Your conversation partner might walk, bike, drive, take a bus, ride a train or fly on a regular basis.
Discussing travel and transportation can help you learn vocabulary related to getting around and preferred destinations. You never know—the conversation might even inspire you to book your next trip!
- What was the most relaxing place you’ve ever traveled to?
- What was the most exciting place you’ve ever traveled to?
- Where do you like to stay when you go on vacation? (e.g. hotel, hostel, short-term rental, etc.)
- What was your favorite thing you ever did on vacation?
- If you won an all-expenses-paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- If you had to choose only one location to take every vacation for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Modes of Transport
- What mode of transportation do you use most often in your daily life?
- What mode of transportation do you find most comfortable?
- What mode of transportation do you find most frustrating? Why?
- Do you prefer a window or aisle seat?
The natural world surrounds us and influences our daily lives, even if we don’t always consciously consider it.
This topic will open you up to vocabulary that isn’t always prioritized by language learners, but is surprisingly common in everyday life.
- Do you have any favorite plants?
- Do you keep any plants in your house?
- What type of flower do you like best?
- Do you have a garden? If so, what’s in it?
- If you could plant a dream garden, what would be in it?
- What animals are you afraid of?
- What animals do you think are the cutest?
- What sorts of animals do you see frequently?
- What’s your favorite season? Why?
- What’s your least favorite season? Why?
- If you could stay in one season all year, would you? If so, which season?
- What environmental issues concern you most?
If you’re comfortable with it and you’re both interested in it, you could have some fascinating conversations about current events and the news.
Warning: like politics and religion, these questions can get dicey. Pay attention to political sensitivities, and if your partner seems uncomfortable, change the topic.
- What international news concerns you most?
- How do you think governments could create better understanding between nations?
- What’s the worst weather disaster that’s affected your country in recent years?
- What weather disasters do you see on the news that scare you?
Popular Human Interest Stories
- What’s the most uplifting news story you’ve heard recently?
Goals and Accomplishments
While having a language exchange conversation, why not let each other brag a little?
You can get to know your language partner a bit more deeply through these questions about accomplishments and achievements.
What You’re Proud Of
- What’s your greatest accomplishment in life?
- Of your accomplishments, what do you think made your parents most proud?
What You Hope for the Future
- What do you hope to do career-wise in the future?
- Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? In 20 years?
Observing Language Exchange Topics in Real Life
Before you test these topics out with your language partners, it also helps to see how these can potentially flow in a dialogue.
There are tons of resources online that can help you envision such conversations. But it’s important that your resource offers you a real glimpse into the natural use of the language.
For instance, FluentU can help you become familiar with the sound, vocabulary and grammar of your target language.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
When you need a new topic to liven up your language exchange, pick and choose from this list. You may never want your conversation to end!
And One More Thing...
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