In this digital age, most of the younger generation has no idea what a pen pal is. Finding a pen friend is one of the best ways to connect with people from other parts of the globe to learn their culture, get introduced to a new language and learn more about yourself. Nowadays, we can simply make an account on the Internet, log in to any of the numerous social media outfits, and connect with other people anywhere in the world.
People’s desire to connect with other people in different countries has been around longer than the invention of the World Wide Web or the Internet. The postal service has been a valuable instrument in helping people make new friends and learn new languages ever since. Despite the advances in technology, you can still use the snail mail to connect with other people effectively. You will be surprised at how many people are still into this type of communication and how this has been a valuable solution to help them learn and improve their language skills.
What is a Pen Pal?
Pen pals are people who formed and maintained a long distance relationship with each other by writing letters. Often, the best pen friends are those who have a great desire to learn about other people, languages, and cultures. They are the ones who would like to reach out to other people in other parts of the world on a more personal level. Looking back, opportunities to find a pen pal are advertised in the magazine or newspaper. It would contain a brief description of the person looking for a pen pal and you could send them a letter based on how well you are interested or how your interests match. While this may sound odd especially to the younger generations, over the years, many life-long friendships were formed because of snail mails. One good example is that of Alice Powers and Nona Avery. The American and English girls are pen pals and have been sending bi-weekly letters for the past 72 years.
How Can You Learn or Improve Your Language Skills Through It?
Sending a snail mail is a less intimidating way to communicate with someone while enhancing your writing skills in your objective language. Writing a letter and sending it to someone can improve your vocabulary by learning new ones. It can also help you practice and improve your grammar.
Libby Page, a columnist of The Guardian was communicating with a girl named Juliet as a part of her French course. Juliet is from a town in Western France. Juliet would send her a letter in English and Libby would send her response in French. Both of their letters were filled with grammatical errors and some even have drawing to make their points clear. Both of them are learning by doing this. Later, Libby went to France and stayed with Juliet and her family. They went to school and socialized together. Libby did not just learn French but also experienced another culture that she would have never experienced by just going on a vacation. This opportunity would have never been available to Libby without her pen pal.
If you like writing, connecting to others, learning a new culture, or improving your language skills, having a pen pal is a nice way to achieve it. Find people who share the same interests as yours, write them a letter and drop it to the Chelsea post office or any post office near you. If pen pals postings are no longer available in the newspapers or magazines, there are websites that have lists of people looking for pen pals.