A question I often get is “How can I improve my English? There’s no one who speaks English in my area.”
We’re all online, so finding a conversation partner is easy.
My favorite site is: https://www.conversationexchange.com/
This is a site that I have used myself. You can search for the exact partner you want…age, country, interests. And it doesn’t cost you anything.
How do you begin a conversation with a stranger?
If you’re a beginner in English, use a picture of yourself and your family, or anything that is interesting to you. Then you will have something to talk about. Ask your partner how to ask these two questions in their native language: How do you say X? What does X mean? Then ask questions.
If you’re intermediate level, find a story or song you like and work together with your partner to understand it. These pages of stories and songs are specifically for learners of English: http://evaeaston.com/pronunciation/readings.html or http://evaeaston.com/pronunciation/songs.html
For advanced learners or people who are interested in pronunciation, you can do some of the exercises in this blog with your native English partner.
In return, of course, you will help your partner learn your native language. Find pictures, readings, songs, exercises, in your language that you can use to teach your partner. These days it’s not difficult to find classic stories and books online. Pick something you both like and each of you read it in the language you’re learning.
Start small, maybe 30 minutes only in your language, 30 minutes only in your partner’s language. When you are more comfortable, you can add more time if you want. Make a regular schedule. If you invest just a little time each week, over a long time, you can learn a lot.
Don’t mix the languages. I use a pink egg timer at the start of a conversation. When half the scheduled time is up, the bell rings and we change languages. It’s a fun way to make sure that each partner is getting the same amount of practice.
Don’t be nervous. The partner you choose wants to learn your native language. Concentrate on making your partner comfortable with you.