Many people think of Russian as a difficult language to learn. Russian is certainly more difficult for English speakers than some other Western languages. However, exposure to the language in its natural form can have non-native speakers learning Russian in no time. The best way to get this type of exposure is through interaction with people who already speak Russian. The Internet makes it easier than ever before to get a Russian-speaking pen pal. Doing so is an effective way to increase proficiency in the Russian language, and it is also a lot of fun.
Practicing Russian with a language partner does away with many of the obstacles one faces in other learning environments. Teachers do not have the time to converse with every student in a classroom setting, making it difficult to actually practice using Russian. It is equally impossible to have a fluid conversation with a software-based learning aid. Conversing with a pen pal gives students of the Russian language valuable one-on-one time to actually use their developing skills in a practical setting. Students at higher levels of proficiency can also use a pen pal to practice skills, as languages can be forgotten without use.
In many ways, learning Russian with a language partner is also more rewarding than other methods. Working with a pen pal can be a casual experience, but many lifelong friendships are also forged through this type of interaction. Communicating with a native Russian speaker is a great way to learn the language, but it is also a great way to get to know people from a different culture. Conversing with a Russian imparts volumes of cultural information that would be impossible to get across in traditional classroom settings. Therefore, learning Russian through a pen pal is not only an effective way to learn the language, but also a social and cultural learning experience.
The availability of online pen pals makes it easier than ever to learn Russian. Prospective students of the language should not be intimidated. Online language partners are a worthwhile and efficient way to gain proficiency in Russian. Both newcomers to the language and those looking for a way to hone their skills can benefit greatly from working with a fluent Russian speaker.