I have recently been giving this question a lot of thought as I find it difficult (particularly) when your first language is English (but this could be applied to almost any other language situation where you are the weaker party) to really learn another language properly especially when so much of the rest of the world are either learning or already speak fluent English.
I don't feel like I am developing my language skills even in exchange situations as the default language invariably goes back to English (I would like to add that most of the time the blame lies with ME because my own language skills quite frankly leave a lot to be desired!!). In order to counteract this I was thinking next time I am abroad (I am learning Italian and just started Spanish) I will seek out people who simply have no interest in learning English whatsoever but who just simply want a chat and who are happy to tolerate my attempts at butchering their beautiful language!!!
What do you think?
I have been to latin America, and my experience there was that many people speak limited English, and already quite soon I was the upper party. That is different in Spain? Okay mostly on holidays you go to touristical places and the guides speak English. But I know your frustration. A Spanish speaking friend of mine, tried to learn Dutch, she did not know English very well. In fact her Dutch was better. Nevertheless, everytime people heard a foreign accent, they started to speak English to her. If they hear an English accent, it would probably be even worse.
Of course you can always pretend to be from another country, and pretend not to know any English at all. Maybe try to fake a Russian accent?
Yeah, this could be very helpful because that way, you dont have a 'safety net' and you dont rely on the other person knowing your language. This might motivate you to seek vocabulary and basically you'll have to learn in order to be understood. If you are a total beginner, however, it might not be so helpful because your vocabulary is not as good in the first place so, you might be stuck in a few places and the other person wont be able to assist you as much without a common language. I agree with mondaytuesday though, tutors/teachers that have worked in this situations before, know how to handle this them and they can conduct a conversation in only your target language, keeping the use of your native lang. to a minimum.
Thanks for your comments and I completely agree. I have recently started using a teacher which has been way more effective than the exchanges and I hope to increase the amount of time I devote to this. Additionally my aim is to go to a small town abroad where English is less spoken just to force myself to use the language.
In my opinion, an Italian who knows English well would be much useful for your learning process. Of course, spending time in Italy and practice Italian daily is always the best thing to do. But for writing, you need to work on it,
Hi, my name is Eleonora and I am a italian native speaker girl. I attend the university of Bologna. I am looking for an exchange friend who can help me improve my spoken english. We can meet on Skype . I think it’s very important to be fluent in english, especially in the job world. My level is intermidiate and my aim is to reach the advanced level. I will also help with italian! I hope we can work together with the intent to strengthen our skills. I look forward to hear from you.