English and Literacy teacher.

Volunteer LGBT Youth Worker.

Previously taught in Indonesia.

Currently working in the North West of England.

Interested in: YA fiction, EAL/ESL, raising literacy levels, promoting reading for pleasure, celebrating diversity, inspiring creativity and cups of tea.


International penpal project.

My Indonesian students received the replies to their penpal letters from the students from England today. 

They have identified common ground in the following:

  • Love of 1 Direction
  • Manchester United
  • X Box
  • Maths is hard
  • Younger siblings are annoying
  • Nail varnish should be allowed in school

The Indonesian students are jealous that the English students play cricket and the English kids and jealous that the Indonesian students learn Chinese. 

I gave mine a basic structure and ideas to write about. They wrote the letters and submitted them to me electronically. I sent them in the post to a friend who has a form class the same age in England. I kept a copy of the letters, just in case they got lost as the Indonesian postal system can be unreliable. 

My friend got her students to type the responses and she sent them to me electronically, as we were running out of time in the school year. I printed them and gave them to my class. My classes are writing replies now and will give them to me to send back next Friday. This time we have allowed them to exchange contact details and if they want to keep in touch in the future they can. Obviously I won’t be here next year to facilitate it.

This has definitely been a good exercise. My students loved having a real life person to write to. When I first told them I wanted them to write to a student in England their response was, “Yeah, but will we actually send them?” When I said that we were going to send them off and that we would be getting responses they cheered!

If I was to do this again I would start at the beginning of the year so the students could have more letters going back and forward. This has been a bit of a rushed project as we only started to write the letters at the beginning of March.

I am moving back to England soon and I will definitely be looking for international contacts to do penpal projects with in the future.

Below are two screen grab of section of two letters, one from my student and the reply letter from an English student.





  1. charellabon said: That’s wonderful! And YES, my birthland’s postal system is unreliable. Keeping copies of their letters electronically - genius!
  2. englishteacheronline posted this