I'm just wondering, what is everyone's experiences on having language partners from Italki? Is it a smooth relationship always or are there complications? Have most of the encounters been long-term or has it been mostly short-term? What kind of activities do you plan with each other and what kind of tips or advice would you like to share regarding this topic?
I've been on Italki for about a month so I'm pretty new and the whole concept of language partners is pretty new to me and I'm curious to know what the experience is like for everyone :)
Sometimes it's smooth, and sometimes it's not. I get a lot of requests from people who add you but never say a word, or I never hear from again after the first exchange. Typically, they add you and say hi and that's about it. Maybe they are shy or cannot speak so well but it wastes a lot of time. Also I get requests from people who have an upcoming exam or job interview and they want to practice their English and are not interested in exchange beyond that. Then there are people that just want to talk, they don't want to teach or learn -they're just bored. You get a feel for these kind of people after a while.
There is difficulty in finding serious people, who want to learn and have the ability to help you in your target language but it is not impossible. It takes time, I have managed to find some good long-term partners who have helped me a lot. My advice is
1) Understand each-others schedule and acknowledge that nobody is free 24 hours a day
2) Always be prepared and plan a session beforehand - make sure you know what you want to take from each session. Don't make a skype call hoping to learn as you go along. It's a waste of time.
3) Don't rely on just one person - it's good to get a second opinion.
4) It's ok to make friends, but always keep in mind that you are trying to learn. Don't get sidetracked and begin to digress.
Having a long-term language partner who could practice in a regular basis is a huge struggle for me :D because most of the time it will last once or twice or even a couple of days. Also finding a serious language partner that can stand in line with your values is not easy. So i am searching for a serious language partner who is willing to make a real progress on the language we're learning and exchange for that i am willing to give a hand for those who are interested in learning Arabic /or practicing English.