How to find the perfect French conversation partner and become a more confident French speaker

C’est en forgeant que l’on devient forgeron (It’s by forging that one becomes a blacksmith), that’s at least what a famous French proverb says. It’s also by speaking French that one becomes a better a better French speaker.

The problem is that you may not know anyone you could speak French with. Here are several ways to find the perfect French conversation partner from any location.

How to find a conversation partner near you

Unless you live deep in the countryside, chances are that a few French persons eager to learn English live near you. And finding these people is easier than you think (hint: they all carry a baguette).

Here are several ways to find conversation practice opportunities near you:

Couchsurfing

With Couchsurfing, you can “surf” people’s couches and easily discover a new culture with natives.

But, you don’t have to host or be a guest to benefit from this social network for travellers.

If you open your local Couchsurfing page, you’ll find a list of events you can attend. Often, there will be a “language exchange event” or “tandem group event”. These are events where you can practice French in a friendly environment and meet the perfect tandem partner.

And you know the best part? Most of these events are free!

In case you don’t know, a tandem partner is a person who speaks your target language (French) and learns a language you already know (English). Such exchanges allow both persons to greatly improve their conversation skills in a relaxed environment. And who knows, your conversation partner could even become a great friend :).

Meetup.com

If you don’t find any French conversation practice opportunity on Couchsurfing, Meetup.com is another great option.

You can use this website to find all kind of events, from conversation practice to real French courses and guided tours of a city.

How to use social networks for conversation practice

Social networks often rhyme with waste of time, but they’re also an awesome way to connect with people and learn French.

You could for example type “London French meetup”, “English French exchange London” or “French conversation practice London” in your favorite search engine or in Facebook to get the list of all the French speaking events in your city.

That’s how I met my German conversation partner when I lived in Köln.

Polyglotclub

The French website Polyglotclub regularly organizes language exchange parties all over the world. I went to a Polyglotclub event in Paris and it was truly amazing to be able to find so many people to practice languages with.

There is absolutely no pressure since everyone is there to learn a language. These events are an excellent way to practice your French.

If you’re in Paris, the weekly polyglot meeting is a good way to make friends and practice French. Last time I went, there were more French people than foreigners, so your language skills will be greatly appreicated.

How to find French conversation practice online

If you can’t find French speaking people in your city, don’t worry! Lots of websites allow you to find conversation partners.

Interpals

On Interpals, you can select “language exchange” and find conversation partners from all over the world. That’s how I started and I actually ended up meeting many of my conversation partners. I later visited them and had an awesome time abroad.

While Interpals is great to find a penpal, you may find it easier to find a conversation partner on Italki. This is an online community of language learner where you can easily find a French teacher, a conversation partner or a pen pal.

Who is the perfect French conversation partner?

In theory, any person fluent in French would do. But speaking in a language you learn isn’t easy, and it’s important to find someone who really motivates you. Ideally the perfect French pen pal would be someone who:

  • Is fluent in French. This is of course better, but not absolutely necessary either. One of my first pen pal was Korean, and my fascination for the culture gave me the desire to speak English with her.
  • Is learning your language. That way you can both help each others,
  • Seems interesting. Talking to someone in a language you are learning isn’t easy, so you need to find someone you will look forward to talking to. Of course that person is different for everyone and depends on your interests.

However, if you really enjoy talking to someone who is not a native French speaker, but still speaks French very well, keep doing it. You can still learn a lot from non native speakers.

Here is the best advice I can give you: get past the language difficulties, do your best to get to know other cultures, be curious and you will never regret it.

Over to you

Have you ever been to a French conversation practice event? How did you meet your conversation partner?

23 thoughts on “How to find the perfect French conversation partner and become a more confident French speaker”

  1. I began going 5 months ago to 2 French meetups in my suburban area. After a while I stopped going, and don’t go any longer. They were both “taken over” by fluent, in some cases native, French speakers who dominate and talk to each other. Fast, fluent, French. Impossible for me to learn anything, understand, or even get in a conversation.

    Reply
  2. I am a Nigerian.
    And I really desire to have a friend I can speak French with in order to improve my fluency in the language. I can read and write French but the speaking is the problem.

    Reply
  3. I do it through “pillow talk.” That’s right…dating. It great to cuddle and chat, over breakfast, fighting…making up. You learn so many idioms! Plus many words and expressions probably not suitable for this forum!!

    Reply
  4. Bonsoir, vous avez n’avez fait que traduire l’expression “C’est en forgeant que l’on devient forgeron” mot à mot; cependant ce n’est pas la bonne traduction idiomatique. Cela devrait être “Practice makes perfect”. Ou alors vous auriez dû mettre la bonne expression en plus pour que ceux qui parlent anglais aient la référence.
    Au revoir

    Reply
  5. Hello Benjamin,
    I’ve been learning French to 3 years and although, when it comes to reading on paper, I get along fairly well, but conversing in French seems to be the problem for me. Je suis Nigerianne et je suis etudiante a Alliance Francaise, Nigeria. How else can I go about it. Thanks. Keep up the good work

    Reply
  6. Bonjour Benjamin,

    J’aime tes courriels. J’ai rencontré une amie au site Françaisfacile. Il s’est arrivé exactement comment tu as décrit. Mon amie est en France et elle voulait améliorer son anglais et moi mon français. On a commencé lentement et bientôt on a échangé les courriels presque chaque jour.

    Je suis allée en France l’année passée et j’ai rencontré toute sa famille, et on a eu des visites merveilleuses. On continue notre amitié.

    Reply
  7. I want a man who knows Chinese and French. But I do not understand English well. I want to improve my French. Chinese is not a problem for me

    Reply
  8. I have been using the Tandem app to text/speak with language partners (l’anglais et le français) and to work with a wonderful tutor. You have to be vetted to get the invite to join – easiest thru Facebook. And then you can set guidelines on with whom you would like to speak – age/gender etc.

    Reply
  9. Merci Benjamin.

    I think I will try HelloTalk, I found my first conversation partner on Conversation Exchange.

    I would also like to find more people to speak with.

    Merci encore

    Reply
  10. Bonjour~~Enchante…

    Je m’appelle sangkyu..Je suis Coreen..

    i’m learning to french almost 1 years..

    but I’m not perfact my french writing speaking grammers

    also I’m trying to hard all the time everyday..

    I’m looking for my french friends or language exchange partner..

    but I’m looking for friends more..

    If you want I’ll teach you korean and we will exchange Culture and language..

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon..

    PS:sangkyu.kim208@gmail.com

    Reply

Leave a Comment