IWTYAL 145: Staying safe in language exchanges

Ashley asks: “How do you stay safe when doing language exchanges?”

In this episode:

  • Making connections is the real joy of language learning
  • My perspective as a man
  • It’s undeniable that some people are looking for more – just like real life!
  • Just as in real life, you need to stay aware
  • Corresponding in advance, talking about the terms of your exchange, and trusting your gut is probably best
  • Beyond that, if you’re meeting online (such as Skype), you’re safe – just don’t reveal any personal details
  • You could use a separate Skype name and Gmail address, but that might not be the foundation of a good friendship
  • If meeting face-to-face, it’s almost certainly fine, just meet in a public place
  • However, I’m not best qualified to advise on this… leave your comments please!

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

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This article was written by Olly Richards.

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Olly's Top Resources For Learning:
  • dandiprat

    I as a male have had a few uncomfortable situations with females in language exchanges, part of the reason that I don’t do them that much. Sometimes people share too much information from my point of view and seem looking for more than just language practice even when we have just talked for a short time. While in some cases this could be due to cultural differences, I do not believe this was the case in my situation. Unfortunately these are often the people who will provide the most practice in your target language. I have had one or two good language exchanges.

    • dandiprat

      I should say that I don’t really fear for my personal safety like I’m sure females might worry unless my wife gets suspicious that I’m up to no good.

  • eleanorundeadgoat

    I know I’m a little late to post this, but I only just listened to the episode. Personally after a few uncomfortable situations I strongly prefer only meet with other women for language exchange, I was matched with a man recently through a program at my university, I ended up recruiting a female friend and we eventually ended up with a group of 4, which worked well for us.

    HOWEVER, the fact that it’s the questioner’s boyfriend who’s making these vague warnings about “safety” to me is a huge red flag. Abusive/controlling partners are often threatened by your connections to others, and will often feign concern in order to manipulate you into staying home with them. No matter what you see on the TV, you’re not gonna get murdered by someone you just met, but by someone who says he loves you and has met your parents. Stay safe.