How to find a pen friend to improve your German

Today’s blog post is not for those who like practising their German with online activities or games but for those who like the old fashioned pen and paper. Yes, we’re talking about pen friends, or Brieffreunde, as they are called in Germany.

The idea came when fellow German tutor Mark Bamforth asked me if I had ever written a blog post about finding German pen friends or did I know any sites where one of his student could find a pen friend?

I hadn’t but I have now ☺

First of all, a pen friend is der Brieffreund (literally letter friend) if it’s a man, die Brieffreundin if it’s a woman and die Brieffreunde, if you have several.

Secondly, to my surprise I actually found German websites for people who want to write letters instead of emails (or do both).

Brieffreunde.de

You need to register with Brieffreunde by filling in an online form (no costs involved) with your details and whether you are looking for an email or pen friend and how often you might like to write.

You can then search for pen friends, email friends from all over the world or join groups of people with similar interests.

Penpals.de

Penpals.de has a free and paid service. Again you need to register and you can add whether you want an email friend, penfriend or language exchange.

International Pen Friends

International Pen Friends (the above link takes you to their German site) has the most beautiful home page enticing you to write a letter. This screenshot will give you an idea but to really appreciate it, you need to go their site and watch this handwritten letter appear in front of your eyes.

This site is not for those who want to send emails, it is only for those who love putting pen to paper and write a letter, or to exchange stamps, books, souvenirs or other things. You’ll need to fill in a form to register and you would need to give at least 8 countries from which you’d like to receive letters. But you can stipulate that you want to write in German.

Unfortunately, this service is not free. Depending on how old you are, it will currently cost you between 16 and 24 Euro. For that you will receive a list of 10 suitable names and addresses – no email addresses, real addresses!

As an aside, they also offer a service for school classes.

I haven’t tried either of them (I like receiving letters but hate writing them), so can’t tell you how good they are. They all seem to look out for spam and anybody who writes anything inappropriate gets deleted/ banned, which makes them pretty safe to use.

What do you think?
Would you like to practise your German by writing real letters?
If you do and you find a German pen pal, please do come back and let me know!
And if you know of other ways to find a German writing pen pal, please also let us know.

 

 

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3 Responses to How to find a pen friend to improve your German

  1. Cristina says:

    Thanks for the information! I’d love to find a penfriend — not just to improve my German, but also to meet someone new, to learn more about Germany, and to write something about my own country to someone who might find it interesting. But I admit I’m a little nervous about the first objective. Would it be okay to ask a penfriend to correct my mistakes, if I make any? I don’t want to give the impression that I’m more interested him or her as a free tutor than as a friend, when the opposite is true. But of course would be hugely helpful and appreciated!

    • That depends on your pen friend. If you found somebody who wants to improve their English, then you both want to correct each other. If it’s only you who wants to improve your German. then play it by ear. Write a few times and get to know the other person. Then ask about your German and would they mind correcting it once in a while. The tricky bit is to work out how much to correct (and that goes both ways). That, I’m afraid, will have to be trial and error. But if you are writing to somebody who is just as eager to improve their English then you’ll both benefit from correcting each other.Just try it!

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