I’m sure that most of you who is looking at this page have heard of the word “pen pal” or “pen friend”. Are you not sure how to get started with pen-palling or how to find right penpals? Are you not sure if you really want to start making friends through overseas correspondence? I’d like to show you all benefits of having penpals around the world and show you how to get started.
Is international friendship possible?
Yes it is! Even if you have never met your pen pal before, it is possible that you build a deep, long-term friendship with your penpal; perhaps the same as or even closer friendship than the friends you actually meet and hang around with. Some pen-pallers have actually met their pen pals, and others have been corresponding with their pen pals for tens of years. You don’t have to always talk about your countries, cultures, just because it is overseas correspondence. You can write to your overseas pen pals like you chat with your friends in your town. You can talk about your hobbies, your work, what happened on the day, and so on. You can seek your pen pal for advice about your life if you think you can rely on him/her. “I have a friend overseas”. Does this statement make you feel excited? If so, overseas correspondence is the thing for you!
Learn about foreign countries and cultures.
Your overseas pen pals are real people who live in a different country, and they are living everyday life in that country just like you do in yours. That is, they are not the same as the media; the perspective of your pen pal’s country from his or her point of view is more of a “first-person” view than of the media. That is, you will get to know about overseas country more directly though your pen pal, and your pen pal can learn from you in the same way. Also, you’ll be able to feel closer to the country your pen pal is in than before because you have someone that you “know”, even if you have never met her/him. For example, you’ll get to watch the news about your pen pal with more interest than before you’ve started overseas correspondence.
Improve your language skills or learn new languages.
Many people, especially ESL people, start overseas correspondence in order to improve their English or any other foreign languages. Like others, I first started overseas correspondence because of this. Unlike paper tests, you can communicate with real foreign people with the language skills that you learned. There’s no markers, and there’s no given subjects – you can write whatever you want to let your pen pal know about. Through pen-palling, you will get to enjoy writing in foreign languages (at least much more than paper exams!), therefore your language skills will improve. Even if you correspond with your pen pal in your first language, you will get to know how to organize your thoughts to clearly communicate your ideas to your pen pals on paper so you will be able to increase your written communication skills.