My name is Jim Lake and my Skype nickname is 'HotWombat'.
You have either come across this site by accident or because you are interested in
finding out more about becoming a volunteer English conversationalist.
If English is your first language, you already have the necessary skills.
There are countless numbers of students of the English language around the world who
are urgently in need of people like you, with whom they can practice their English
With the introduction of voip, 'voice over internet protocol', it is now possible for
pc users to speak to other pc users around the world, in real time, at no cost.
Your only requirements are a headset, consisting of headphones and microphone, and
access to the internet.
The students who will contact you will reside at various locations around the world
and will be willing to talk on most topics of a general nature. Many are into current
affairs, so it is suggested that you keep up with current international news. You may
also indicate your various interests and you will find students will contact you
with similar interests. Obvious taboos are, of course, politics and religion.
Go to the Skype forum and post your details. A sample posting appears further down
The free Skype software can easily be downloaded from:http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html
Skype is a free chat/voice communications system. Once the software is downloaded you
need someone to chat or talk to. I use the word 'chat' to refer to the method of
communicating in real time with other pc users around the world by typing your
conversation into a Skype window which will appear on your screen. You may also elect
to ring your Skype contacts or receive a call from them. This is when you use your
headset and mike.
After downloading Skype and filling in your profile go to the Skype forum and post your details.
A sample posting appears further down this page.
On the top left hand side of your Skype window there is an 'Add Contact' button. Click
on this button, and if you like, add me, hotwombat, and follow the prompts. At a point
in this process you will be prompted to add a message. This will be a message to
me (hotwombat) or to whoever you wish to add to your contact list. If you are sending
me a message let me know you are interested in becoming a volunteer. This is because,
unfortunately, I have so many students on my contact list, that I now have to refuse
the request of many others. When I see the request is from you, I will know to accept.
There are rules of courtesy being established on Skype, and one that I like to follow is
as follows: If I want to chat or talk to one of my contacts, I check their status.
Obviously if the status indicates 'offline', 'away', 'do not disturb', 'not available',
I do not contact them. If, on the other hand, their status indicates 'skype me'
or 'online', I initiate a 'chat' first. After chatting and establishing that my
contact is available for a voice conversation, I will then ring my contact. It can
be frustrating and irritating for someone to ring you when you are already involved
in a voice conversation or otherwise busy.
Some students may want to chat with you whilst they are at work. They may not want
to talk, but they are just staying in contact and maybe ascertaining what times you
may be available outside their working hours, either of a weeknight or on Saturday or
After downloading your free Skype software, visit the Skype website, and prior to
posting your message, I would suggest that you complete your Profile as much as you can.
My Skype nickname is 'hotwombat'.
I am a native born English speaker. I am XX years of age and I live in the USA.
I am interested in most things in general but my main interests are XXXXX.
Please chat with me first when you see my status as 'Skype Me'.
All sites are free.
A full online dictionary with audio pronunciation. (North American English)
A full online dictionary with Phonemic pronunciation adjacent to all words.
An explanation of the Phonemics used in the Oxford University Press online dictionary above.
Links to a large amount of local and international news sources. (Scroll down the page.)
If enough volunteers express an interest, I will add a form to this site.
Have fun and I hope to hear from you.