Most of italki users have tried once at least to find a way to practice speaking English or the language they are learning.
The most problem that faced me is to start a long conversation with a foreigner language partner.
I want to have some ideas how to get over this issue !
When I started at italki I had read a book (The Telenovela Method of Learning Spanish) that had a chapter on suggestions for activities to do with language partners so that things do not get boring and the partnerships last longer. I am an introvert so having activities that we can do helps me a lot. Most of my partners seem to prefer that we have a conversation for a little while and then we find something to focus on as an activity together. Doing so greatly reduces the social anxiety for each of us. Several of my partners have told me that previously they had only had partners for conversations and felt they learn a lot more and stay more interested having things we read or look at together and discuss. We never run out of things to discuss.
Some ideas from the book include using this site http://www.gocomics.com/explore/comics to read comics together. Another idea is watching videos together and then discussing them.
Another site I have found that works well is use Google Arts and Culture https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/. We look at pictures or exhibits together. One of us shares our screen through Skype (which is a good thing to learn to do). For example, we go through the pictures of street art. They include many objects. A lot of our discussion is just basic ¨What do you call that? We call it a ________ in my language¨ We each learn a lot of new words.
Another activity one of my partners taught me is to use a short written article. Because I am not nearly as advanced in Spanish as he is in English, first we read it line by line in English and I help him with the pronunciation. Then we go back through it and I attempt to translate it into Spanish, with a lot of help from him. He says he also learns a lot as we work on the translation. One site that is great for this is Breaking News English. http://breakingnewsenglish.com/