How we made friends in Mexico online during COVID

How did we make friends from Mexico during COVID while also counting it as volunteer experience?

It all started in high school. As the little IB Spanish Ab Initio students that we were, we wanted a fun way to practice our Spanish (apart from Duolingo) while living in Canada. One day, we came up with the idea to host an online language exchange program, unsure of how to do it and what it would ultimately lead to.

How did we start?

After coming up with the idea, we created a Google Form on language learning forums on Reddit in hopes of finding native Spanish speakers who wished to learn or practice English. We then conducted online interviews with interested participants, and after establishing our participants, collaboratively created lesson plans and determined what topics we would discuss each week.

What did the program consist of?

Once we found our core group of people (3-5 IB students in Mexico), we met once a week on Saturday mornings where we would spend time practicing our Spanish and helping our new friends with their English. We made some amazing connections along the way, learned a lot about their culture, and even learned to sing Happy Birthday to each other!

Where to start if you want to practice a language?

If languages are your thing, then this will be easy! Reddit is an amazing forum for finding niches of all types, the possibilities are truly endless. Start by launching a Google Form and watch the responses roll in. Post on existing threads and create your own. Google Forms has an interface that is super easy to access and edit and allows you to sift through responses seamlessly.

Once you get a sufficient amount of responses, you'll want to hold brief interviews to ensure that the person on the other side of the screen is legit. Remember to be careful when talking to strangers on the internet and it's best if you are doing this with a group of friends as opposed to alone. This part is quite fun, and is like speed dating for making friends.

The 3 Steps: SUMMARY

  1. Create a Google Form
  2. Hold interviews/ brief chats with the respondants
  3. Hold weekly/monthly meetings with your new friends

Anyway, that’s the short story of how we made friends with multiple native Spanish speaking IB students from Mexico. It was super fun, rewarding, and surprisingly easy!!

PS: for IB students, did we mention that we counted this as our CAS project?

If this sounds interesting to you, please reach out to us! We'd love to help you through the same process!

Thanks for reading :)