36 Unique Language Exchange Conversation Starters

Running out of things to say in your language exchanges? Tired of talking about the same old thing with your partner?

Then you’re in luck, because here are 36 conversation starters, separated by level, that add a little variety to the old standards like, “What do you do for a living?”

Lajos Kolzsváry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Talking People” – Lajos Kolzsváry [Public domain], Image Source

You can use these prompts both a) when you’re helping your partner learn your language and b) when you’re trying to learn your partner’s language.

Translate them or paraphrase them if necessary. If you need help with that, you can ask your partner or use my Google Translate trick.

Tip: These are just icebreakers. It’s up to you to come up with relevant follow-ups to keep the conversation going.


1. What does your name mean?

2. Tell me about your worst vacation.

3. Who do you think the most attractive person in the world is?

4. I hate/love shopping for clothes. Can you recommend a good clothing store?

5. What is the best restaurant in your city?

6. Do you like sushi?

7. My favorite vacation destination is [the beach/the country/Paris/etc.]. Do you like it there?

8. What is the most popular sport in your country?

9. Are you afraid of the dentist?

10. Describe your favorite actor or actress.

11. Do you like the weather where you live?

12. How do you get to work/school?


13. What was your least favorite subject in school?

14. Tell me about your dream job.

15. If you could have dinner with any celebrity, who would it be?

16. Would you prefer your friends to be polite or honest?

17. Do you ever send food back in a restaurant?

18. What is your favorite memory from childhood?

19. Do you think [name of comedian] is funny?

20. If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it?

21. Tell me about something you value.

22. Where do you see yourself in five years?

23. Do you get along with your family?

24. If you found a bag on the street with a million dollars in it, what would you do?


25. How do you define success?

26. What makes a person funny?

27. What do you think about vegetarianism?

28. Fill in the blank: If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…

29. Should governments provide healthcare to all citizens?

30. Tell me about a work of art, music, or literature that has impacted your life.

31. What would you rather do? Work 80 hours a week for ten years and then retire? Or work 40 hours a week for 30 years and then retire?

32. Why is education important to society?

33. Does technology do more good or bad for the world?

34. Do you feel like your job is important?

35. What role should media play in a society?

36. Your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend left their email account open. Do you read it?

  • http://allthetongues.hol.es/ Roman Shinkarenko

    Thank you, and yet I think the topic of conversation exchanges could be delved in deeper. How to start a conversation, some other caveats. Because my style of talking through SharedTalk really stinks.

  • http://www.protoclassic.com Peyton Bowman

    Very nice list – planning the follow up (if it’s necessary) could be a good exercise in and of itself, too.

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      Hi Peyton–thanks! I think you’re right. And you could easily get 10 minutes of convo out of some of these prompts if you made sure the follow ups kept coming.

  • Dagmar Sekerešová

    It sounds interesting. Thank you for good ideas :-)

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      Gladly! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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