Guidance and questions

Here are some common questions, but if you would like more information, please contact us at

Staying safe

The University does not investigate the personal background of users of the scheme and cannot assess their suitability as language partners. We recommend that users exchange emails or chat via text before talking face-to-face and that you do not give out any personal details (such as your phone number) until you are ready. If meeting in person, you may wish to take a friend with you, at least to begin with, and to meet in a public place.


Can people who are not members of the University of Leeds join the Language Exchange?

Unfortunately not, the Language Exchange is only open to students and staff of the University of Leeds.

My language isn't listed, can I still join?

Yes, just email us at to have your language added.

Can I have more than one language partner?

Yes, you can have as many as you feel you have time for.

I can't find a partner for my language in the search, what can I do?

The Language Exchange depends upon the ever-changing number of language speakers who are present at the University. We do our best to help people find one another, but we cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to find a partner. However, as long as you fill out a profile, you will be visible in the search, and new users joining the scheme may still contact you in the future.

I have enough language partners now, what should I do?

You can deactivate your profile at any point. While deactivated, you will not show up in any searches or receive contact emails. You can reactivate your profile at any time. You can also add or remove languages if you have found a partner for one target language, but are still seeking partners for another language.

What should I do at my Language Exchange meeting?

It's completely up to you and your partner to decide, but many people divide the session in two and spend half the time conversing in each language. You may like to read these Meet-Up Tips [link needed] on making the most of your Language Exchange.

Language competancy


  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases.
  • Can introduce yourself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, people you know and things you have.
  • Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.


  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters of immediate concern.

Lower intermediate

  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Upper intermediate

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialization.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses, and recognize implicit meaning.
  • Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.


  • Has a speaking proficiency equivalent to that of an educated native speaker.
  • Has complete fluency in the language, such that speech on all levels is fully accepted by educated native speakers in all of its features, including breadth of vocabulary, idiom and colloquialisms.