I posted this on my former thewritersblockparty blog in 2012, but the site I wrote about below is still running. I've found that along with using Rosetta Stone, this is one of the most fun and easiest ways to pick up on a language. It's even something to consider incorporating in a classroom setting.
2012 Blog Post:
Recently, I have taken to Google in hopes of finding an online pen pal program with a language exchange feature that didn't cost any membership fee. After not much searching, I came across www.interpals.net.
The site works much like Facebook in that you create a profile and are able to add friends, post status updates, send messages, post on people's walls, etc. The difference is that Interpals is geared towards making friends worldwide. If you wanted to meet someone from Australia or Austria, they're here. If you wanted to meet someone from New York City, they're here.
Interpals allows you to set up your profile as to what you're looking for in communication with other people. For instance, I'm just looking for "email pen pals, language exchange and friendship," but it does give the options for "Snail mail pen pals, romance/flirting, and a relationship." The main reason I joined Interpals though was to learn Spanish.
The language exchange works where you find someone looking to learn your language and in turn, they teach you the language you want to learn. Right now, I am communicating with a few different people, where I'm agreeing to teach English and they're agreeing to teach Spanish. In the meantime, it's fun getting to know people from all over the world.
With Google Translate, it's a lot easier to communicate with people from foreign countries than it would have been five years ago. I have so far communicated in Spanish and Portuguese. It's so much easier learning a language when there is someone who you have to speak it with on a daily basis.
The possibilities to learn several languages on the site are endless as well, as people speak everything from Afar to Zulu are available on the site. As I'm writing this, there are over 7,000 people on Interpals and the amount of people who have a profile that speak each language are also listed. The amount of people that speak Spanish on the site for instance is 121,979 as of Sept. 28.
For those looking to learn a new language or having a hard time staying up with the language they're learning because of a lack of people to speak it with, this is a great site to take advantage of.