Get an International Pen-pal

Pen Pals for Kids- Kid World CitizenWhen I was in about 5th grade, I found an ad at the end of a children’s magazine to get a pen-pal from another country. With a #2 pencil, I bubbled in my name, my interests, and the top countries I was interested in: Yugoslavia (as it was called!), Mexico, Australia.

Pen-pal letters- Kid World Citizen

Letters and postcards from my pen-pal, Lily

In a couple of weeks I was matched with “Liliana from Yugoslavia”- we ended up writing for more than 10 years before we lost touch! It was an incredible experience to exchange pictures (I still have her stoic 5th grade school picture), stories from our schools, postcards from our vacations, etc. I remember the excitement of coming home from school and finding her letter on my bed: foreign stamps scattered across a colored envelope, addressed to me with her curly, distinctive handwriting. I can even recall when she told me I needed to start to address her letter to Macedonia, because it had declared independence and was its own country.

Writing to a pen-pal in another country can facilitate lifelong friendships- and at a minimum it creates a great learning experience that enhances social studies, geography, penmanship, and language skills. There are a couple of different ways to go about finding a pen-pal for your kids from another country.

1) Ask everyone you know.

Ask family, friends, and neighbors if they have a loved one abroad who would like a pen-pal. They might know an expat abroad, someone in the military based in another country, someone who is studying abroad, working as a missionary, a volunteer, or even have relatives who live in their home country. Make the connection with them and decide together if the pen-pals and your children would like to communicate via email, or if everyone is comfortable to dust off their stationary and mail letters through the post. There are advantages of both. Via email, your kids get almost instant gratification. If their writing partner uses a digital camera, it is easy to share a lot of pictures, and perhaps their pen-pal even posts to a blog where your kids can write back in the comments section. However, in many countries internet is not as widely used as we are used to. The advantages of old fashioned paper and pen are many.

Pen-pal letters- Kid World Citizen

Kids love to get mail!

Kids practice their writing skills, can send drawings and cards, learn to address and stamp an envelope, and enjoy going to the post office to buy special international stamps. Although there is some patience involved (you might wait months before getting a letter back from some remote locations), the excitement of getting a letter in the mail with their name on it is not lost in our digital age. Despite the expense, my kids have enjoyed sending little packages and homemade cards (especially at the holidays) to family members abroad, and of course they love receiving little presents even more.

2) Find a teacher or homeschooling parent who is looking for a pen-pal for their children.

Yugoslavian Stamps- Kid World CitizenThere are a lot of web sites that over pen-pal “matchmaking” services. I personally am a little nervous about individuals who post here, because there is no background check or identify verification. Never post your personal information on the internet for all to see, and I would prohibit my kids from visiting chat rooms, where identities are unknown. However, when it is a teacher, at a school, and you can see the school’s web site, it is more secure. At a very popular site, Students of the World, teachers can post their country of origin, or search the posts to find a suitable class with whom they can exchange letters. Another popular, ePals, you can search the maps, and the various forums for people looking for pen-pals. Many times teachers will be looking for class partners, but there are also homeschooling families, and individual students searching for pen-pals. You could also register and post your own search.

 

3) Sign-up to correspond with a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV).

There is a program for teachers in the US to be matched with a PCV through the “Wordwise Schools” program. When I was teaching Spanish, we had a volunteer based in Bolivia, who would share incredible stories with us in English and Spanish. A man on a burro came to pick up the mail every month from her high Andean village, and we exchanged letters once every couple of months. Not only did it give my students a chance to practice Spanish, it also gave us a glimpse of part of the world we probably won’t ever get a chance to visit. From their site:

A vibrant two-year exchange of ideas, stories, pictures, and artifacts that helps U.S. students in the classroom learn about the people, geography, environment, and culture of the world from the direct experience of Volunteers living in other countries.”

4) Write to military personnel based abroad.My penpal's house- Kid World Citizen

There are many, many organization who will put you in contact with a man or woman in the military. Adopt-a-Soldier, Soldiers’ Angels are 2 popular organizations that support the US military. If you would like to write to someone in the HM Forces (UK), try Diedre’s Forces Penpal Service.

So get started today: find a pen-pal and locate their location on the globe. Find out more about their city or country from books in the library or on-line.  Get some fun stationary for your kids, and be available to help them write their first letters. When you go to mail the first letter, buy several stamps of the correct amount, so that you are ready when the next letter comes. Have your kids draw some pictures, send a photo, ask questions- have fun with this intercultural exchange!

110 Responses to Get an International Pen-pal

  1. It’s so much fun to have a pen pal! You can learn alot about that person’s life in another country.

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  3. hi abur my name is savanna im 10 i love toy do you my favirte food is pizza what is your favirte food i have two cats hamsters fish and birds do you have pets pelese write back love savanna

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  6. S.Adetutu Barnor George-Taylor

    Hi! My name is Adetutu and I am looking for a penfriend for my 11yrs daughter.

  7. Adetutu, how wonderful for your daughter! Try looking at http://www.ePals.com- they have lots of penfriends from around the world!:)

  8. Hello.. my name is jessica my seven yr old daughter is named leah and she is very enthusiastic to have an a international pen pal she has been learning about africa atnd other coutries at school and I would love to encourage her pen friend ideas. Please let me know if this is possible x thank you. Jess

  9. Hello my name is Jennifer. I am looking for an international pen pal for my 7 year old daughter Adyson and my 13 year old daughter Eve! They are very excited to begin this new adventure and can’t wait to meet their new friends! I would prefer a pen pale friendship not online, I would like to get them away from the technology for once and remember what it’s like to write an actual letter and send things trough the actual mail! We just aren’t sure where to start. Help!

  10. Hello can I ask what country you are from as my seven yr old daughter is also looking a letter writing pen friend?? Xx

  11. We are from the United States. How about yourself?

  12. Hiya we are from the england uk….. x where abouts in the usa are u from x

  13. We live in Michigan. On the west lake shore. England is defiantly one of her top places she was hoping her pen friend would be from. Not sure where your daughter was hoping she could find one though.

  14. Hi my daughter doesnt know im setting ot up for her yet but she will be so happy when I yell her I have sorted her apen pal out lol x do you fancy starting a pen pal ffriemdship between our girls then? X I think it would be greatly educational to learn about differnt countries and different ways of life x

  15. Absolutely!! Oh I’m so excited for them! :) Adyson will be thrilled, she’s been asking all day if I’ve found one yet! She said hopefully she’ll be from England, they have a queen mom! Lol! Not sure how you want to exchange information, so I’ll just give you my personal email and we can go from there and get the girls started!!! :)

  16. Cool I awai your adress and email x

  17. It’s not letting me send it for some reason :( do you have a Facebook

  18. It’s waxitaxi and it’s at yahoo lol… Maybe you can do it the way

  19. Hi yes I have face book im jess halse my profile pic is the same as the one on here im wearing a black top x

  20. It wont let me send my email address so add me on fb instead x

  21. It won’t let me find your Facebook either! Good grief. Try to find mine if you can it’s Jennifer Hintz I’m, black and white photo of just me…

  22. Well, I found a pen pal for my 7 year old, now I’m in search of one for my 13 year old daughter!!! Any have any ideas? :)

  23. I am looking for a pen pal for my 12 yo son. He has no preference whether the pen pal is a boy or girl. He just wants to connect with other kids and learn about their lives. He is interested in Irish dance, tennis, video games, and writing books. We are in the US and he would like to have an international pen pal. As he is interested in Irish dance and all things Irish, he would enjoy having an Irish pen pal.

  24. Hi my daughter is 8 we are in United Kingdom are you on Facebook

  25. kcunning  hello my name is Kirsty I have 3 daughters looking for pen pals the old snail mail way.  Aaliyah is 12, Brooklyn is 10, and Ciara is 6.
    If any of these interest your child please let me know via email – and we can exchange addresses there.
    Thanks

  26. kcunning  hello my name is Kirsty I have 3 daughters looking for pen pals the old snail mail way.  Aaliyah is 12, Brooklyn is 10, and Ciara is 6.
    If any of these interest your child please let me know via email – and we can exchange addresses there.
    Thanks

  27. Jenniferhintz
    hello my name is Kirsty I have 3 daughters looking for pen pals the old snail mail way.  Aaliyah is 12, Brooklyn is 10, and Ciara is 6.
    If any of these interest your child please let me know via email – and we can exchange addresses there.
    Thanks

  28. Jenniferhintz
    hello my name is Kirsty I have 3 daughters looking for pen pals the old snail mail way.  Aaliyah is 12, Brooklyn is 10, and Ciara is 6.
    If any of these interest your child please let me know via email – and we can exchange addresses there.
    Thanks

  29. JessHalse
    hello my name is Kirsty I have 3 daughters looking for pen pals the old snail mail way.  Aaliyah is 12, Brooklyn is 10, and Ciara is 6.
    If any of these interest your child please let me know via email – and we can exchange addresses there.
    Thanks

  30. Hi kirsty! Can I ask where you’re from?

  31. Australia.

  32. Oh awesome! Yes, my 13 year old daughter Eve would love to exchange letters with your oldest!!

  33. Jenniferhintz very good :) ok if you want to email me at and we can exchange addresses there.

  34. For some reason this site won’t allow anyone to post their email so I’ve had go through Facebook in order to exchange addresses

  35. Hi my name is Katie and I am looking for a penpal too. I’m 11 and would love a penpal I could write to, would any of your daughters be interested??

  36. Katie Nesbitt  Hello Katie, sounds great yes my oldest daughter would love to be your penpal.  Email me at and we can exchange addresses there

  37. can you extend your program to kenya please?

  38. Hi everyone. I am looking for a pen pal for my daughter. She is 8 and would like to find another girl to write back and forth with. We live in Pennsylvania, USA. Feel free to email and we will go from there.

    • My 8 year old girl would love an international pen pal to write to in old fashioned “snail mail” . We live in Queensland, Australia, would she be interested? USA would be a good start for her as our language is similar.

      • Hi Sue, my name is Cheryl. I have a 10yr. old daughter who would like to write the old fashioned way also. We live in Buffalo, New York, USA. Would you be interested even though she just turned ten in December?

      • Hello Cheryl, thanks for the reply. My girl would love to write to your daughter, she’s very excited about getting an international friend. Please email me and I will send you my address.

      • Thank you Sue for getting back to me. I am new to this and don’t know how to send you an email. Where do I find your email address?

      • I’m sending you both an email so you can get in touch!:)

      • My 7 year old son is happy to have a pen pal snail mail style from every and anywhere! We currently live in Switzerland. Any one interested please email me and we can go from there!

  39. Hi everyone, I was just reading the article about pen pals and thought the idea would be great for my daughter she is 9 and we live in the US. I would love to find her someone internationally that want to do the old snail mail method but don’t know where I can find another child for her to write with safely. Please help. Thank you.

    • I have a 10yr old, also in the US. Would you be interested depending on location? We are NY.

    • Hi, my 10 year old daughter is looking for a pen pal. we are in U.K. she is very interested in IT, making her own music videos and loves lady Gaga and all types of animals :-)

  40. I have a nephew and he is 7 years old in Uganda he wants to get a pen pal in USA.his name is moshen and in primary two.

    • Hi I have a 6 3/4 year old son who is looking for a pen pal. He is half American half Italian and we live in Italy. Would your 7 year old nephew be interested? His name is Emilio and he would love to write to Moshen. What do you think? My email address is karaband@gmail.com

  41. My 8 year old girl would love an international pen pal to write to in old fashioned “snail mail” . We live in Queensland, Australia, would she be interested? USA would be a good start for her as our language is similar.

    • Hi, my 10 year old daughter is also looking for an English speaking pen friend. We are in u.k. She loves music (lady gaga) and all types of animals. I am not sure what snail mail is but get in touch and I am sure it can be arranged :-)

  42. I am wanting to get a penpals for my 6 year old daughter . Like others I want the old school method of snail mail. We are in New Zealand

  43. Hi everyone I’m looking for an international pen pal friend for my 13 year old daughter. Aaliyah loves writing and reading and cant wait to start forming new international friends.

  44. We are from Melbourne, Australia :-)

  45. We are looking for a penpal for my 11 (almost) 12 year old daughter. She was born in South Africa, but we live in the United States. (Kansas City) Africa would be great, but anywhere outside the US would work.
    thanks

  46. Elizabeth
    Hi! My name is Rose and I am thirteen as well. I have always wanted to travel to Australia so if your daughter is still interested in a penpal, I’m up to it! I’m from the United States but have been adopted from China when I was almost 1.

  47. Hello, I have a daughter who is nearly 6 and loves drawing and getting into writing now. I think she would really love a penpal – and an added benefit would be someone in Mexico or Japan her two favorite countries (because her Papa is Mexican and she is obsessed with Totoro!)

  48. Hi, I have a few girls from a girl scout troop that would love some international penpals. 3 of them are 6 years old and one is 8. Also there’s a 15 year old and a 16 year old. We could do the traditional “snail mail” or email, whichever you prefer. My email is girlscouts223@gmail.com if you’re interested.

  49. Hi I’m looking for a pen pal for my 10 year old daughter , we live in the US she would like to have a friend out of the US. And she wants a girl same age or close .

    • HI my 10 year old daughter is also looking for a penpal. We are in uk, get in touch if they would like to email/Skype each other.

  50. hi my son would like a penpal he is 7 years old, we live in the uk. he would prefer snail mail but email is fine too :) my email is fayelouroberts@yahoo.co.uk

  51. Hi Kayla , My daughter is 6 yrs and would love a penpal the same age, what country are you from?

  52. Hi my Daughter Florence 6yrs, we are in the U.K. Florence would love a penpal from Canada for snail mail contact please.

  53. Hey! I am looking for a pen pal for my 11 year old daughter. We live in the United States.

  54. Hi there, I am looking for a pen-pal for one of my students. She is 12 and very outgoing. We live in Vermont in the US.

  55. Hi! I have a 9 year old little girl looking for a pen pal. She is looking for someone in Paris or France in general. We are from the USA!

  56. Hey Guys ! I find a new website for people who want a french (or other) penpals; NekoPlaza, http://nekoplaza.com. Many people here are looking for english speakers ;) Enjoy !

  57. Hello, looking for a snail mail, English speaking pen pal for 9 1/2 year old boy. He will write to a boy or girl. Prefer international but US ok too. We live in New York City.

    • hi,my names Molly and i am 9 1/4 years old and i live in the U.K. i would
      be really interested in being your pen pal!!

    • yes please email to me! No one ever responds further than saying they want a pen pal!!! My son is 8, we are in Switzerland, lots of snails to deliver mail.

      • Hello Kristin,

        Please email me with Pen pal as the subject.
        michelemaxwe@yahoo.com
        Looking forward to hearing from you.

      • Hi Kristin, I just found this website and my 7 year old son really wants to write to someone. he loves getting/reading and sending mail. I would love to have him write to you. my e-mail is izzystreasure@gmail.com . We live in the middle of no where USA ;) - My son Zeb is really interested in medieval studies, riding his scooter, pokemon, games, star wars and angry birds. As well as playing outside in the rock bin. If you have not had a response yet, Zeb would love to write to your son!

  58. Trista Matthews

    I am looking for pen pals for my two daughters Taylor is 6 she is very outgoing. Silvia is 7 and loves writing anything and everything… Please let me know if interested they don’t have email access to postal mailing is a must! We look forward to hearing from you
    Thank you have a blessed day!!!!

  59. Hi, I’m also looking for a pen pal for my 7 year old son, he wants to a boy with similar age. Snail mail prefer. We live in Hong Kong, China.

    • My son is 8. Weare in Switzerland. I have been waiting for a pen pal but no one ever responds!!! I am at hurstkristin@yahoo.com (I am the mom) please email directly to me if you are interested, and we can set it up from there! I would be pleased! Kristin

    • Did you find a pen pal? My 6 yr old son has been look or a pen pal. We are from Kentucky USA. If your interested email me at kersandrarettig @gmail.com

  60. Hi,
    Great website.Just looked at it briefly.Has so much to venture.Great job.Keep up your work

    I have 7 yr old daughter,we live in UK. I need to find a penpal for her.Any age from 6-8 yr old girls should be fine.She is very talkative and loves talking to people. Any culture wouldn’t mind.We respect all cultures.Moreover my daughter is very interested in learning and knowing about all cultures.
    I have given out my details briefly.Let me know How do I post it please
    Look forward to hear from you
    Rgds,
    Bhanu

  61. My 9-year-old daughter would like a pen pal, preferably from overseas, but US fine too. She is adopted from China – although her pen pal doesn’t have to be Chinese! – a girl is preferred. We live in upstate NY. She is very social, loves her friends and horseback riding. Likes writing and art a lot too. Snail mail preferred.

  62. We offer a free, international pen pal program. All you have to do is email: schools@opportunityeducation.org – and you can start writing – write away!

  63. hi im ellei im looking for a pen pale from any country i love them all a girl orboyh dont care i live in austalia and would love a pen pale age 9 to 10 im am 10 thanks

    • Mambwe 9 1/2 boy from NYC would like to be your pen pal. If you are interested, have your parent email me with your details and contact information. Michele (Mambwe’s mom)

  64. sorry its ellie

  65. hi im ellie ( eleonore) im looking for a penpale age 10 girl or boy i cant wait to find a pen pale im in austarilia plz reply soon bye

  66. hi im eleonore for short call me ellie im ten years old im in austarila am im would love to be pen pales with your daugher plz reply soon bye ;)

  67. Tim, expect a letter for Molly soon!

  68. Mambwe 9 1/2 boy from NYC is looking for more than one pen pal so Katherine, Ellie and anyone else interested please email me (or have your parent email me, if you are a kid), with your details and contact information. Michele (Mambwe’s mom)

    michelemaxwe@yahoo.com

  69. hi michele just leting you know i have send you a email saying suff like my email account thanks so much gor reply means a lot cant wait for the frist letter just so exiced thanks bye from ellie ( eleonore )

    • Hello Ellie, sorry I did not get it, I may have missed it or accidentally deleted it because I didn’t recognize the email. Or, you may have mistyped/ Please send it again with pen pal as the subject and I will be sure to check extra carefully michelemaxwe@yahoo.com

      Mambwe will start a letter in the meantime!

  70. Hi I have a 6 year old son who has been looking for a pen pal. We live in Kentucky USA. If your interested please email me.

  71. Hi everyone. This is a great site! We have been getting such wonderful responses for my son that my niece also is interested. She is 15 and would like an English speaking pen pal. She prefers a teen of any age, boy or girl.

    so, please respond if your child is interested in being pen pals with a 9 year old boy or 15 year old girl.

    michelemaxwe@yahoo.com

  72. My son is 8 and is interested in Japan, and would love a penpal. We live in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. He would like to write in English and Japanese and we have a friend who can translate Japanese. Thank you.
    Jill

  73. I’m looking for a penpal for my 10 year old daughter. She loves sports and animals. And would absolutely love to have a penpal to become friends with.

  74. I’m looking for a pen pal for my 10 and 12 year old daughters. Doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl. We live in Michigan. thank you

What do you think? I love to hear from my readers:).