Language Connection holds events called Language Exchanges where people have an opportunity to teach others their native language and practise the language that they're learning!
We help create an opportunity for people to speak and learn:
English,Chinese, Korean and Japanese
Language Exchanges also provide an opportunity to make new friends and have fun!
This sounds great, but....
What do I do?
During the Meetup everyone is learning, and everyone is interested in meeting people. When you first get there, it is good to say hello to people you already know. Then it is good to introduce yourself to people you don't know. Start by introducing yourself in your 2nd language, and then in your first. People are very friendly, everyone can talk to everyone else. If you are a native speaker of Chinese it is good to speak to someone who is not a native speaker of Chinese. It can be hard to tell, appearances can be deceiving.
What if it is hard to meet people?
Sometimes people will come to you and introduce themselves, but if they don't then it is up to you to introduce yourself. Even if people are already talking it is okay to join in, they won't mind. If you feel nervous about introducing yourself you can speak to one of the organisers and they will introduce you to some people because they know everyone.
What do I talk about?
You can talk about anything, but asking people questions about their language learning is a good place to start, everyone is learning a language, so this is something you have in common. Talking about your daily life, so study and or work is also a normal topic. Talking about TV shows and movies is also good. If people start talking about food then patiently listen to them, but change the topic when you can, talking about food can be really boring.
The first few times you come to the language exchange the conversations will mainly be the same. But as you get to know people better the topics usually become more diverse. Australian people often talk about things that happened to them that were really unusual, or things that they heard about which were surprising. Storytellling is a really good way to develop friendships because when we tell stories about our lives people can know our personality and values more easily.
What if I feel nervous?
Being nervous is very normal, everyone feels like that. Even if you are nervous it is usually better to be more confident. Being very cautious and humble are sometimes good qualities, but usually the people who are confident and easy going find it easier to speak more and usually make more friends more quickly. So be confident and smile a lot.
What should I do to prepare?
You don't need to prepare, but there are a few things people usually do. They include:
studying your second language and learning new words and grammar
writing down problems and confusions you have with your second language
bringing in specific things in to show people and to talk about, like cultural games, riddles or specific cultural confusions you've had.
What do I do if they won't speak to me in my second language?
If the person you are speaking to is only speaking in English, or only speaking in Chinese then you can ask: 『please let's speak English as well'. If they keep speaking that same language then you can suggest that you have five minutes of Chinese, and then five minutes of English. If people continue to ignore you then just say that you need to go to the toilet, and leave, and when you come back speak to somebody else.
Generally groups will speak more of one language than another. A lot of people come to the events just to speak in their first language and make friends from that culture - and this is also okay. These group conversations are usually the most interesting but also require higher levels of proficiency. They happen a lot with people who have come many times and already know each other quite well. When you are new its better to speak in small groups because if there is only one other person they will need to speak more slowly and at your level.
What do I do if the person I'm speaking to can't speak any Chinese or English?
If your level is good then this won't be a problem, but if your levels are both really low then it is good to invite other people to talk too. If you feel concerned that they are just teaching you English and you can't help them with their Chinese you can suggest some new words and teach them basic Chinese sentences - its fun.
What do I do if I want to be friends with someone at the language exchange?
Everyone likes friends! Most people use either Facebook, QQ or Ren Ren. Facebook is very very common with Western people and its usually the place where people find out about social events. For example when I organised my last birthday party I made an event on facebook and then just invited all of my facebook friends that were living in Melbourne. I didn't even check through my phone. If you want to be friends with people the best way is usually Facebook or Ren Ren.
To be friends with people on facebook you can say 『Hey do you use facebook?』 If they say 『yes then you say, 『I will add you there and we can speak in Chinese and English there'. Then they write their Facebook name (usually their real name) on the sheet of paper. Sometimes they will write their phonenumber but often people give their phone number less easily than their Facebook so its easier to just ask for their facebook. If people have a really common name, like 『James Boag' then ask them for their email - you can search facebook using an email and you will find them.
Often people will go out for dinner or drinks after the event. Everyone is invited usually so you just need to say 『Hey, where are you going for dinner?』 They usually don't know, so they say 『I don't know yet, do you know any good places'. If you know any good places to eat that are cheap in the city then you will be really popular.
What if I don't know if the event is on?
Please make sure you have registered at meetup.com to ensure you get notifications about upcoming events and changes to existing ones. You will always get a reminder if you are on the website so you can be sure it is happening. If you want to organise a new event please speak to us because we love organising new stuff. Please email Michael, Su, Carl or Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I have more questions?
Please email us at email@example.com
Or call us on 0423 869 800
|Page title||Most recent update||Last edited by|
|About Language Connection Melbourne||August 5, 2012 10:12 PM||Ben Injam|