At IH London we have been thrilled to jump-start a programme of exchanges between our Foreign Language students and international students who have come to study English with us. The goal of these events is to bridge different people and cultures and enable students to practise their language skills with like-minded, passionate language learners. We have run several Japanese and Korean exchanges so far that have been a resounding success. They have allowed students to make friends, enhance their speaking skills and learn about other students’ home town, culture and life. Overcoming linguistic and cultural obstacles is at the heart of our company mission, and we feel they are pivotal for every student’s development as a linguist and, most importantly, as a person.
Madi, who has been studying Japanese with us since 2019, shares her positive experiences of the language exchanges:
I attended the Japanese and English language exchange session on Wednesday 13th July, and just wanted to express how much I enjoyed the experience!I have been studying Japanese with IH for around 2 and half years now, and enjoy my weekly classes very much. My biggest challenge with the language is speaking – the main reason for this is probably because I have limited opportunities to practise this skill outside of class time. For someone like myself who is quite shy, it is hard for me to find speaking partners locally or through online channels. I was so excited to see that IH were holding their own language exchange, so I signed up right away!
I enjoyed the casual, informal setting of the session. The free refreshments were a lovely addition to the evening, too! I was worried that I would struggle to find someone to talk to, so I liked the way we were sat at different tables around the room and the leader of the group assigned partners for us. The prompt questions were a great idea to help facilitate conversation, but I also enjoyed not having a rigid structure to stick to while talking to each other, so it was easy to have natural conversations and get to know one another. I worried that an hour might not be long enough to really get into the flow of things, but the staff member leading the session informed us that we were free to stay later once the session was over. I was really happy about this, as this gave me the chance to befriend one of the Japanese students learning English! We have met up several times since the event, and am so happy that I had the opportunity to meet him.
I also really appreciated that this session was held at the school for free, as paying for an exchange group on top of regular classes could become a financial struggle for some. I think this made it much more accessible for students like myself who want to but don’t have the means to practise their language outside of class.
I would like to say thank you to International House for hosting these events and giving me the chance to practise speaking Japanese and meet new people. I hope there will be many more events like this in the future!
Due to popular demand and the success of these events, we will continue running these language exchanges in the future, including for other languages like Arabic and Mandarin just to name but a few. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled and get in touch if you’re interested!
  
Find out more about our Japanese, Korean and English courses here.

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