How to find a pen friend to improve your German

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).

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.

International Pen Friends

EDIT 2024: based on comments I have received (see below) it seems that International Pen Friends isn’t worth joining, which is a shame. Maybe one day things change …

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.

21 thoughts on “How to find a pen friend to improve your German”

  1. 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!

  2. Hello Angelika, I have read somewhere that it is possible to find a friend to attend a German course online… I’d like to remember that.

  3. Hello Angelika, i am Eric from Ghana, 40 yrs old, i am the CEO of AKWAABA HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION and i have list of penpals who are looking for pen pals from Germany and other part of the world , some are student and adult, they want snail mail pen plas and email pen pals so any one who is interested looking for pen pals from Ghana, can contact me direct…erickwame71@gmail
    Also my organization welcome any one who want to visit Ghana, we can be of a great help for you…Thank you

  4. I tried International penfriends and to be honest, it’s not worth it. I got a list with 14 addresses but only 2 wrote back. So I wasted money for only 2 replies. and the penpals I got were not even from Germany (they say they can’t promise penpals from a specific country) So I got a addresses from the USA,Canada,Mexico,Slovenia and some other countries

    a friend of mine had the same experience. 14 addresses and only 1 replied

  5. I can also speak about the International penfriends. I’m German so i wanted to find someone to improve my english (doesn’t matter if the person is from Canada,UK,USA) I Got 14 addys, wrote all of them. 1 wrote back that we have nothing in common, so she can’t be my penpal , another wrote that she already has enough penpals. the third one was also not interested because he is not interested in someone from Germany. So 3 replies out of 14. and none of them were interested. 14 other people got my address (you get 14 addresses and 14 diffrent people got yours) but so far after 8 months I haven’t heard from anyone.

    As far as i know a lot of people are not happy . if you want another list with penpals you have to pay 28 Euros AGAIN

    SORRY for ranting but I wished I didn’t spend 28 Euro on this Club.


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