Emailing back and forth with French email pals is a great way to improve your French and to meet native speakers of the language. Not only will your language skills improve, but you will also learn cultural traditions and perhaps meet someone who will become a life-long friend.
Finding French Email Pals
Before you can just start emailing back and forth with a French email pal, you have to know where to find such a pen pal. Perhaps you have met some people while traveling in a French speaking place and you keep contact with them via email. However, most people learning French do not already have contact with a lot of native speakers of French. The following websites offer opportunities to find pen pals without having to travel to France.
- My Language Exchange: The French page of this website offers pen pals with native language French who are looking for pen pals with different native languages. Some posts are from people looking for various languages, but the vast majority of native French speakers posting on this site are looking for a pen pal whose native language is English. You have to sign up to use the site, but it's free and a good resource.
- Europa Pages: This site allows you to post your availability and which language(s) you are looking to practice with a chat or email partner. You can also browse through all the announcements already posted…look for people from France or Belgium if you want to find French native speakers.
Teachers who would like their students to have the opportunity to become pen pals of native French speakers can search for English teachers in France who are looking for native English speaking students to become pen pals for their native French speaking students. Visit E-Pals and go about halfway down the page on the right-hand side, type in a French speaking country and the language 'French', and you'll get a list of teachers in that country whose native French speaking students are looking for pen pals with different native languages than their own. Most of the teachers are looking for native English speaking students. You can search for pen pals in any country and with any language; you can also post your own message and let yourself be contacted to set up an exchange between your own students and a French teacher's students.
Reasons to Find a Pen Pal
Whether you are a student just beginning to learn French or majoring in French at college, there are several benefits that come with regular contact with French email pals. Firstly, even if you don't learn much French because you converse with your pen pal in English, you will learn a lot about French culture. There are lots of pen pals in France who would like to practice their English, so even if you just had your first French lesson this morning, don't delay in finding a French pen pal. Learn as much as you can about France and French social customs, food, music and history by having regular contact with a pen friend. Your pal will get to practice their English, you will learn everything you always wanted to know, and as your French improves you can more and more often practice it by writing to your pen pal in French.
For more advanced students, practicing French daily is essential to improving one's fluency. Even if you can write French flawlessly and can read classic literature without a dictionary next to you, chances are that practicing your French daily in a spontaneous manner will make your French more fluent, as well as making your vocabulary more natural. Having French pen pals or online chat partners is a great opportunity to speak French for free every day.