Where to find online conversation practice

Hello all.

After living in Japan for nearly 3 years, I think it’s high time I pay for an online conversation partner, and I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for places (or coupons? Anyone got invitations or promo codes?)

While I know there are free options, I’d like to practice more advanced conversation topics, and I feel bad imposing that on someone who is doing a language exchange with me for free. I have a few conversation topics in a book I’m working through (environmental problems, technology, economics, politics, etc.) that I’d like to try out that I would feel too guilty suckering someone into talking about for free. My work schedule is also rather erratic, so talking with someone online is easier for me right now.

Please let me know of any good services. Ideally, I would like video chats, but just audio is also fine as well.


I was introduced to the app by a wanikanier. The cool thing about it is it’s free, they’d actually want to talk to you because they would be learning english too,

On iTalki, you might be able to find a private tutor (on Skype?), which is paid.

On Tandem, you might be able to find a person with similar interest. (Much like HelloTalk, but I find it have a better interface to me.)

I’ve been using HelloTalk and I find that people tend to…disappear after a while.

I want to be able to have regular conversation practice, and I’m willing to pay for it. I think I might have to.

disappear? Maybe you just need to find the right person? I feel like a paid “relationship” would be weird though. Heh.

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Since you live in Japan, have you tried looking into doing a conversation exchange? That way you can feel free to direct the conversation any way you want in your (hour) since you’re ‘paying’ with the English part.

I’ve pretty much stopped using Hello Talk because I had the same problem as you. Not so much people disappearing, but more just constantly circling the same fairly simple topics. It’s quite rare to find people who are interested in talking about the topics you mentioned - especially when it’s with someone who’s having difficulty finding the language to express their opinions.

Hmm, I have this problem on HelloTalk somewhat. I actually get people interested in the topic at hand, its mostly just my Japanese is really poor so I can’t contribute as much as I’d like to the point the conversation dies off. I still think it’s good practice though, especially when you find the right type of person.

I don’t think so. I pay for a tutor, and it’s really just a Japanese lesson, only entirely focused on conversation.

I also think that if it’s free people tend to not value it. Since I’d like regular practice, I don’t mind being treated like a customer for that level of commitment.

I find that in conversation exchanges, because the Japanese speaker tends to have a higher level in English than I do in Japanese, they often will hijack the conversation and steer it mostly toward English practice for them. When I try to make the conversation Japanese-centered, most partners I find suddenly become disinterested or only use simple responses with me. I also hate it when they interject with the English for words I’m struggling for (because that doesn’t help with my language acquisition), or they answer my Japanese with English.

So I’m done with that. I’ll pay to get solid Japanese conversation that I can tailor to my learning style.

I do find that I tend to talk about the same topics with people as well (work, hobbies, hometown, etc.) and it does get stale. I don’t need to use any new vocabulary because I’ve had the exact same conversations before.

I find that people on those free applications tend to only want to practice daily conversation, which I’d like to go beyond.

Sounds like you may need an actual tutor. I go to one roughly every other week. She is a teacher, but 80% of our lesson is just talking - however, since it’s a paid lesson I feel free to ramble on about difficult topics as long as I want and then she gives me corrections / advice.

I’ve had the same trouble as you with other language exchanges. Did you do them one to one or as part of a group? I find that with one to one exchanges, if you make your expectations clear at the very beginning it makes things a lot smoother. I do an exchange every week and it’s one hour English followed by one hour Japanese. We stick to that pretty rigidly and it’s been going pretty well for over a year now.

Thanks. 30 minutes just disappeared before my eyes. :rofl:

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No probalo!

I have a tutor that I meet once a week, but I’d like to go to someone else for conversation practice, so I can get used to another person’s voice, and so I can spend my lesson time doing bookwork.

I’ve done one-on-one language exchanges mostly. I don’t do well in group language meet-ups.

How did you arrange your language exchange?

That’s understandable. I sometimes feel I spend a lot of time talking to the same type of people and it would be good to have a bit more variety.

For my current language exchange I just got lucky. She was my girlfriend’s yoga teacher and it just came about naturally. I also did one with a guy from this site. It was really good, but for whatever reason we just lost touch.

Hope you find someone that works for you!

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