In a perfect world, you wouldn't have to waste time thinking about things like how your language exchange partner should behave, because they'd be perfect! If that's the case, then good or you! If, however, you're stuck down here on Earth like the rest of us, then pay attention. This article may save you some headaches, and heartbreaks, lol!
This is super important, because when you first begin speaking a new language, it's very difficult to make yourself coherent, and chances are you are going to have to repeat yourself A LOT in order to get your meaning through. Don't let this discourage you, is part of the learning process! If you have a language exchange partner that is immediately or reacting you, not trying to understand what you are trying to say, or sort of all, laughs at your attempts to peak their language(unless they explain a joke of some sort, maybe a lingual mishap on your part, I've had some!), then you should kick them to the curb, they aren't helping you learn!
This might seem like a no brainer, but make sure that the time spent speaking Chinese is equal to that spent on English. Don't be surprised if your LE partner tries to monopolize on the time, especially if their English is more advanced than your Chinese. It may not be intentional, they may not really know what to teach you if you just started learning and everything is new, but that's no excuse, your time is valuable too!
Nobody likes arranging to meet with a friend, going out of your way to accommodate them by meeting in a place that's convenient for both of you, just to have them call and say they can't make it, or worse, just not show up! Everyone should have a chance to explain themselves, and life does happen. But if your LE partner makes a habit of it, then you need to let them know that it's not going to work. You need someone to actually show up in order I practice your Chinese with them!
If you can't trust someone, then how are you going to trust them to teach you? Your LE partner should be a man/woman of his/her word. And so should you! If they say that they will do something(like meet you to practice) then they had better do it, though as I previously mentioned, life can get in the way. If you find them lying to you to protect themselves after ditching you, or constantly making excuses, or even cutting out after you just spent an hour on English, because something "came up", then you should find someone else to practice Chinese with!
Your LE partner should be just as passionate about learning English as you are about learning Chinese. They need to be committed to showing up, week after week, and talking with you until they're blue in the face. That's the only way either of you are really going to learn. If they don't really even like learning English, but just see it as a necessity for furthering their career(the two aren't mutually exclusive, by the way), then they won't keep up with it in the long run, and sooner or later you'll be stuck without a LE partner!
So how does your LE partner stack-up? Tell us in the comments below, let's get a discussion going!