I see a lot of people recommending doing language exchanges for practicing their foreign language conversational skills… But why? You lose half of the practice time you normally would have and the conversations are often contrived and uninteresting.

It’s much better to just go hang out with native speakers online and pretend to be one of them. This goes for both intermediate and advanced learners. Think up a native sounding name and location to be from and just try your best to blend in and be one of them.

In my experience, if you use a foreign sounding name or say where you’re really from, the conversation immediately becomes unnatural. They start asking you the same boring questions about why you’re learning the language and such. It’s much more interesting to talk about subjects you enjoy and joining those discussions as seamlessly as possible.

The more people in the chat, the better. This takes a ton of pressure off of you and really allows you to absorb what’s going on around you while also letting you chime in when you have the words and something interesting to contribute.