Learning English can be hard. But keeping your language skills once you’ve developed them can be even harder. It’s not easy to make friends who speak English if you live in a country where English is not the main language. This is especially true for shy people. If you are an introvert, you probably have trouble making new friends who speak your first language, let alone new friends who speak your second language. But using English to interact with other people is very important if you want to keep the skills you have worked so hard to develop in school.
One way to use English regularly is by finding English pen pals. A pen pal is someone you write letters to, and they write letters back to you. They are called pen pals because people use pens to write letters. However, today’s pen pals usually use email. Email is electronic mail. That’s what the “e” is for.
It’s easy to find a pen pal on the internet. Even shy people can find someone to practice English with. You don’t have to be nervous because you don’t physically meet your pen pal or even speak with them. Of course, you could use video chatting services like Facetime or Skype to see and speak with a person if you want to.
One of the best pen pal matching services is mylanguageexchange.com. However, there are several other sites that can also help you easily find a pen pal to practice English with: hipenpal.com, penpalworld.com, penpalparty.com, interpals.net, penpalsnow.com, and world-english.org/penfriend.htm. There are plenty more out there that you can find with a simple Google search.
Once you decide on a pen pal service, you need to register with the web site and create a profile. Try to describe yourself in a friendly and interesting way to attract a good pen pal. Be clear about the fact that your purpose for finding a pen pal is to practice using English. Be sure to let people know that you are not a native speaker of English.
After finding a pen pal, make sure you consistently write to your partner. If you take too long to respond to their messages, they might become bored and find another pen pal to replace you. You don’t need to write about interesting things in every message. Just write about your daily life. Most language is used to communicate ordinary things. We very rarely use academic words and language. A common problem for English language learners is overusing academic words in regular conversation and communication. It is very awkward and can upset the rhythm of the interaction. Focusing on your routines and normal life will help you to become more comfortable using basic language in a natural way.
Remember that your pen pal doesn’t need to be a native speaker of English. Most speakers of English in the world are non-native speakers. You are far more likely to use English with other non-native speakers in your life than you are to use it with native speakers. So practicing with other people who use English as a second language can actually be more helpful than practicing with native speakers.
Having a pen pal, or several pen pals, is a great way to practice using English. It will give you chances to practice the language with real people in real ways. You will be able to use the language to communicate ideas that you think are interesting and help you to express yourself in new and useful ways through English. You should really consider it.
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