Starting your own Language Exchange Program

Are you interested in starting a language exchange program for your neighbourhood or community? Programs might look very different depending on where, when and why you are starting it. Considering the questions below can help you to get started with planning your program. 


Thinking about WHO

Who will it be for?

  • People who speak specific languages, or any languages?
  • Which ages?
  • People with kids?
  • People who work Monday-Friday 9-5?


Thinking about HOW

Will people stick with their partner the whole time, or will we make different pairs and small groups each time?

How many people do I hope will join?

Where will we host it?

How many weeks will it be?

What dates will it start and end?

How long will we meet each time?

What time will we start and end?

How do I want the sessions to look, in terms of facilitating the group, providing resources, and what people are doing?

How will I coordinate people, to tell them they have a partner, or to remind them when to come? (Email? Facebook group? Both?)


Thinking about your TEAM

Who will help me set up the program?

Who will help me advertise and spread the word?

Who will help me run the actual sessions?

Who will mind the children if we have parents involved?


Getting ready

How do I want to describe the program for potential joiners?

How will we advertise, and when does that need to happen?

How will people sign up, and when does that need to happen?

How many people do we need as a minimum?


Running the program

How do I make sure people show up to the first session?

What do I to do at the first session?

What do I do after the first session, to make sure people come back?

What do I do at the following sessions?

What do I do at the final session?

What do I do after the program ends?


After the program

How do I summarize what happened, including the challenges and successes?

Is there any news media I want to contact to tell the story to?

Do I want to run another program?

If yes, how do I want to adapt the program based on what happened?

If yes, who do I want to include in the team, maybe adding people or changing people’s roles?