Did you ever have a penpal? When I was young, I made penpals in many ways, including through schools (in middle school, my teacher connected us to a group of students in South Korea to keep in touch with) and my adoption agency (there was a directory of adoptees interested in meeting and becoming penpals with other adoptees around the nation). I still keep in contact with two of mine; it was a great experience that I would never give up.
Now that I'm older, I can see that there can be much more to being a penpal than just sending letters back and forth. E-pals may not send snail mail, but they can experience many benefits of meeting others on the Internet.
- Meet new people - This is the obvious one. If you just moved to a new area, you can perhaps find a network of locals who are like you. Maybe you don't like anyone where you live, so you can talk with people online who share your interests and match your personality. Singles of course try to find love online, and sometimes do. There is no such thing as a geographical barrier with the Internet. You can make friends from across the world from the comfort of home.
- Learn about a different culture - With so many Internet users around the world, there are infinite opportunities to contact people in places where life is completely different than anything you know. Of course, inhabitants know all about it, and would often be happy to expound upon the way of life they are familiar with. You can ask questions and find out things you wanted to know but couldn't find in books.
- Learn and practice a new language - I'm trying to improve my German skills, so I created a profile on a site where people from around the world can join and meet other people for whatever reasons. Thousands of people have joined from Germany, so it's a great opportunity for them to practice English while I practice German. Using the language, of course, is the best way to learn it.
- Make connections - Perhaps you will be traveling to a different country. Meeting people from that country can be helpful so you can know of a good place to start touring, the best things to do, and so on.
- Get academic benefits - You might need to write a report about a certain country or culture, and you might be required to interview someone firsthand. Foreign penpals are great for this.
I have to say I really enjoy the sites I've joined so far. The network features potential penpals from numerous countries (pages worth of them), and their profiles can show a picture, age, nation, interests, what they are looking for, and a short bio. Others I have looked at are listed in the Additional Resources below.
- InterPals Penpals : Free pen pals from around the world!
Free pen pals from around the world on the most popular penpal site! Learn a language, chat with friends, share photos and join the global community! 100% Free.
Penpals, friends, and romance for free! Over 1500 active members 18 and over. FREE -- start making new friends today!
- International Penpals (Pen Friends) - Email Exchange of Language and Cultures (Pen-pals)
International pen pals for exchange of languages and cultures. Over 1 million members!
- PenpalNet - Largest Penpals Website
Since 1996, one of the largest free penpals websites with over 1 million members. A great place to make new friends and explore the world through letter writing.
Guardian1 on May 22, 2009:
I'm sitting her watching B movies from the memorial day movie marathon, so it's nice to get something informative in the mix. That's why I'm reading hubs. I really like this. I think it's a great idea. Real, long term friendships can be creatd this way. Nice hub
glassvisage (author) from Northern California on September 15, 2008:
So true... the convenience of the internet makes penpalling much better, and cheaper!
Moon Daisy from London on September 15, 2008:
This is a really nice hub. I used to love having pen-pals, and since the advent of the internet, I've been able to make many new friends abroad. And it's so much easier communicating across the globe on the internet than waiting for paper letters to crawl along via international postal systems.
GARCIA8287 on September 12, 2008:
I have a penpal I meet online 14 years ago, and she is wonderful friend in my life.
C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on September 09, 2008:
Good article here. Penpals are fun and that is also a big plus. C.S. Alexis
glassvisage (author) from Northern California on September 08, 2008:
Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I'm glad that you enjoyed this Hub. I also had many penpals, and though I don't speak to them all anymore, it's worth keeping in touch with one or two!
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on September 08, 2008:
Hi, I had a dozen of penpals but they all faded away for a time until one remain. She's from Germany! She's now married and has two kids and we still keep in touch. And it has been like more than 20 years now. There is indeed beauty in friendships found in being penpals. :)
kashish mehta from jaipur on September 04, 2008:
thanks for advice
Research Analyst on September 03, 2008:
I had a penpal when I was a little girl before the internet and I used to love to get the letters in the mail from my friend from across the world. Thanks for bringing back such an enjoyable memory.
glassvisage (author) from Northern California on September 03, 2008:
Thanks everyone! The Internet can be a great way to keep in touch with old friends too, as you said, Aya :)
kashish mehta from jaipur on September 03, 2008:
hi Glassvisage , nice hub the suggessions u have given are very practicle n easy 2 apply and more over works efffectively g8t going
Eddie Perkins on September 02, 2008:
Very interesting hub. I enjoyed and agreed. ~ eddie
Aya Katz from The Ozarks on September 02, 2008:
Glassvisage, great hub! My daughter recently started corresponding by email with my friend's daughter who lives in Canada. They knew each other when they were younger in Taiwan and later the US, but now the friendship has been renewed.
rodney southern from Greensboro, NC on September 01, 2008:
WOnderful Hub and I agree totally. Great resources!