There’s nothing worse than starting a language exchange and realising you have nothing to say and neither does the other person. Suddenly you start to panic, why can’t you think of anything to talk about them with, you’ve spoken to someone before, surely it can’t be that hard. These thoughts then make you even less likely to think of something. And this kind of thing puts you off exchanges all together. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you prepare questions or topics in advance then you can save yourself this kind of panic and awkwardness. Here we’ve prepared a selection of topics and questions that you can use to help move conversations along more smoothly.
School and Education
- Where did you go to school?
- What type of school did you go to?
- What was your favourite subject in school and why?
- What was your least favourite subject in school and why?
- What did you study at University? Or
- What do you want to study at University?
- Who was your favourite teacher and why?
- Did you play any sports at school?
- What do you want to do when you’re older? Or
- What do you do?
- What do you think makes a good boss?
- What do you think makes a bad boss?
- What does your day at work usually look like?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Do you play any sports?
- Do you play any musical instruments?
- Do you like to go to the countryside?
- Do you prefer the countryside or city?
Pets and animals?
- Do you have any pets?
- What does your pet like to eat?
- What is your favourite animal?
- What pet would you never get?
- What is your pet called?
- What is your pet’s favourite game?
- (If they have a dog) How long do you have to walk your dog for each day?
- How does the political system in your country work?
- Have you ever voted?
- Do you have a preferred political party?
- Who is the leader of your country? What do you think of them?
- Which country do you think has the best political system?
- What is the main religion in your country?
- What is the most important holiday in your religion?
- Are you and your family religious?
- Why is religion important to you?
- What is the name of the place of worship for your religion?
Family and Relationships
- Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- Are you married?
- Who do you live with?
- How many cousins do you have?
- Are you closer to your mum or dad?
- Where did you used to go on holiday with your family?
- How do you like to spend time with your family?
- What is your idea of a perfect date?
- Do you want to get married?
- Where do you like to go on holiday?
- What kind of holiday do you like?
- Who do you normally go on holiday with?
- Do you prefer hot or cold holidays?
- Do you prefer active or relaxed holidays?
Television and Movies
- What is your favourite film?
- What kind of movies do you like to watch?
- Do you watch movies in the language you’re learning?
- Do you prefer watching television or Netflix?
- What series are you watching at the moment?
- What is your favourite series?
- Who is your favourite character in _____?
- What type of music do you like listening to?
- What was the last concert you went to?
- Who is your favourite band?
- Have you ever played a musical instrument?
- What is your favourite song?
Practising past simple
- What did you do yesterday?
- What did you do this morning?
- What did you do this morning?
- What did you eat for breakfast?
- Where were you born?
- What are you wearing?
- What are you eating?
- What are you thinking?
- What music are you listening to at the moment?
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What TV series are you currently watching?
- What’s the weather like right now?
Practising past continuous
- What were you doing when you found out Princess Diana died?
- What were your parents doing when they found out they were pregnant with you?
- What were you doing at ten o’clock this morning?
- What was the weather like yesterday?
Practising Future Tense
- What will you do when you retire?
- What will you do tonight?
- What will you do after our Skype session?
- What will you make for dinner?
Practising Future Continuous
- What will you be doing on New Years Eve?
- What will you be doing for your birthday?
- What will you be doing tomorrow at 7 o’clock?
Practising Conditional Tense
- If you could do any job what you do?
- If you could be any flavour of ice cream what would you be?
- If you could live in any period in time when would you live?
- What would buy if you won the lottery?
- If you could live in any country in the world where would you live?
- If you could visit any country in the world which one would you visit?
- If you could have any pet what would you have?
- If you could meet any famous person who would you meet?
- If you could have any superpower what would you have?
- What would you eat for your last meal?
- Who would play you in a movie and why?
Tips and tricks
- Although we’ve included questions about politics and religion be careful because some people don’t like talking about these kinds of things. If your language partner doesn’t seem comfortable then don’t push these topics and instead talk about something you can both enjoy. Reading your partner and what they’re happy talking about is very important for a successful language exchange.
- If you want to practise a certain topic or grammar structure before the exchange, then let them know before so they can prepare some questions for you as well.
- Make notes while you talk so you can remember information about your language partner for a more personal exchange in the future.
Now you’ve got the topics to talk about, here are some ways you can find a language partner to practise with.
If you have any other topics or fun questions that you normally use in a language exchange then please let us know in the comments below.