When you’re trying to identify online communities where you can work with fellow English-language learners, you should check their community rules. Strong, genuinely helpful groups will clearly state that they do not allow disrespectful language, discrimination, religious discussions, advertisements, etc.
Quora is a great platform to connect with other folks who are learning English too and who have questions that are relevant to you as well.
Comparatively, Facebook groups typically have more mixed or conversational discussions. That said, Facebook has a huge user base so you’ll have more opportunities for interaction. You’ll see new posts just about every day with thousands of comments. I’ve seen plenty of postings where students are seeking other English-learners they can practice with.
If you’re interested in getting even more speaking experience with English, I’m a big believer in Cambly. The students I’ve heard from have had rave reviews about their Cambly sessions. I think there’s so much value to be gained from improving your reading and writing skills with resources like Quora and Facebook, but Cambly is great for making strides with your speaking. In the past, I actually did use Skype to try and practice my Portuguese but it was a hassle to coordinate with my conversation partners and I was never really sure if we would be able to have an even exchange or if I’d be too intimidated to speak. I won’t lie, it was pretty embarrassing to try and speak this language I’d just started learning! But even when I could find people to practice with, they had no real obligation to stick by me and keep practicing.
I know that my students have had similar experiences with English conversation partners, which is a real shame. That’s why I was so intrigued when I learned about Cambly. They not only have English tutors online all the time, they have relatively reasonable pricing and allow you to pay month-to-month instead of committing to a whole year up front. They have thousands of tutors who speak English natively, though they have a variety of accents. Most of my students are really into British culture, so they usually search for teachers from the United Kingdom so they can pick up the accent. Or, if they’re preparing for their IELTS exam, then they’ll search for tutors with IELTS experience. It seems like they have a bunch of experienced tutors who are available at different times.
Author: Noreen, former English Teaching Assistant at the US State Department’s Fulbright Program (2015)