Activities with your buddy

Get some good ideas for things to do with your Language Buddy so you can both practise your target languages.

Try typing

You don't have to use video chat all the time. In fact, when you type you will notice lots of new things about the way people talk because you see everything written down.

You’ll also have a record of new more authentic ways of saying things that you can come back to and try to incorporate into your own speech later.

Learn helpful phrases

To help you conduct as much of your conversations in your target target, teach one another how to say some key sentences. Here are some suggestions:

  • Can you speak more slowly?
  • The connection isn't too good today.
  • Could you repeat that?
  • How do you say_______in [language]?
  • Can you translate________into [language]?
  • I have a question.
  • Can you talk a little louder?
  • Wait a moment, I'll go somewhere a bit quieter.
  • Shall we swap languages now?
  • Talk to you again soon.

Record your conversation

Try recording your conversation so you can review your conversation later. This way you can find out the meaning of things you didn’t understand the first time, learn those colloquial expressions and slang which native speakers use as well as focus on improving your ability to say the things you struggled with.

You could also get your Language Buddy to record a short text from your textbook, or something you have written and they have corrected, so you can play it back and try to make your own pronunciation more like a native speaker's.

Zoom has a record function, as may some other platforms.

Share some photos

Show your Language Buddy some photos on your phone or computer, and describe them in your target language. Your Language Buddy will learn a lot about you and your culture, and this way you can share things that are personal and meaningful to you.

You could talk, for example, about your family & friends, a holiday or trip, your university/school back home, your favourite food, some of the famous sites of your hometown.

One option is to use Zoom's 'Share Screen' function, and then find the folder of photos you want to show. Try pointing your mouse to things you don't know how to say, and ask for a translation from your Language Buddy.

Use Zoom's whiteboard

Zoom offers a whiteboard function. To use this first click 'Share Screen' at the bottom of the window, then click 'Whiteboard'.

You could practice giving instructions (using imperatives) by instructing your Language Buddy on how to draw something. You could also use this to show your Language Buddy the correct stroke order to write Chinese hanzi, or Japanese kanji. If you find a new thing to do during your Language Exchange using this feature, please share it with us!

Take your Buddy on a virtual trip

You could introduce your Language Buddy to somewhere you love or find interesting in your country online.

Have a look to see what you can find. For example, try searching for your country in Google Arts & Culture. You could discover the virtual tour of the Ho Family Garden in Yangzhou, China, the 360 degree views of Machu Picchu or pick something you like from French Connections: Culture from Calais to Marseille.

If you are a Kiwi, you could teach your Language Buddy about Aotearoa by looking at something closer to home like some exhibits at Te Papa or by taking a quick trip up to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Your conversation will likely go somewhere you didn't expect!