Do you have a pen pal? No, let me rebuild my question: do you know what is a ‘pen pal’?
Wikipedia describes pen pals as people who regularly write to each other, particularly via postal mail. They are usually strangers whose relationship is based primarily, or even solely, on their exchange of letters. Interesting isn’t it?
In days now we don’t use postal mail to talk to our friends as so many technological methods are available, however, we can still find a pen pal, especially if we are learning English.
When you are learning a language is really important to have someone who you can only communicate in “that” language as it will force you to find words to express yourself and discuss whatever subject you both might be interested in.
We are kind of living in a bubble at the moment with all the restrictions happening due to Covid 19, but we don’t have to dwell in it. You must force yourself to keep up your relationships and if you can, you should be open to new ones, perhaps, starting by finding yourself a pen pal.
Why is it important to have a pen pal to develop my English?
By having a pen pal to talk to regularly you can;
- Practice your writing and reading skills.
- Learn about other people’s points of view and consider sides that you never considered before.
- Find common habits and tastes.
- Learn about their culture (depending on where they are coming from)
- Learn new words.
About learning new words: I have some friends who are not native, just like me, but when they speak in English they use words that I don’t use very often and vice-versa. Having a pen pal will increase your vocabulary in such an interesting way, that you won’t even notice that you are learning.
Where to find a pen pal?
Pen pal pages and apps have replaced the magazine and newspaper advertisements that were used 30 years ago. Now, you can connect with hundreds of people who want to share the language learning experience with you. It’s as simple as joining a website, uploading a profile, and finding people to write to.
Many people join these sites purely for language learning. So, don’t worry about ending up in a dating app:
- Global Penfriends
- Conversation Exchange
- Penpal Party
- My Language Exchange
- Polyglot Club
- Students of the World
- PenPal Schools
More to it:
- You may find yourself a friend to speak English and that itself is a benefit, but there is so much more than you can achieve by finding a pen pal.
- If you are single, you can find the love of your life. I never believed in finding someone online, but this is how I found my other half. So, your pen pal may end up being ‘the one’, who knows?
- If you are not looking for a romantic relationship it’s ok. You might find someone awesome who shares the same interests and that person can end up opening many doors for you and you for them.
Quick real fact: My cousin Jack, never ever lived in another country, but she was often in contact with the outside world. When she was 12, she found herself a pen pal who was living in Japan and started communicating with him. She is 40 now and they are still friends, they don’t use postal mails anymore, they decided to follow the technology, so they have each other on Facebook and as far as I know they keep in touch. When she started talking to him I was about 8, but I still remember seeing the photos of Japan that he used to send to her.
Be with people
In these difficult times, I know that it seems like the world is becoming smaller as we cannot be with other people, but the truth is that you don’t need to be physical with people to be with them. Don’t let the current state of the world affect your ability to make friends. Friends are necessary for everyone’s life. Our friends may not be perfect, but it’s ok, we aren’t too, and that’s why we should try to always keep in touch with them, after all, we are all a bunch of imperfect people trying to learn and to love each other.