Language learning partners or the similar concept that is tandem language learning is an essential part of trying to reach fluency. The idea is simple; learn a language together with another person who has a similar target to your own to help enhance both of your progress.
With a language learning partner you are both learning a language together. You should begin when you have a similar level (exactly the same is not essential). Your partner and you should set specific targets to be reached and also, specific times in which you will practice the language. It is important to be strict with language usage in this set time, no slipping into your native language. There are many benefits to studying with a partner, such as: competition, motivation, confidence boosting, peer learning and fun. You can learn from each other and help motivate each other to progress. It is very important to avoid your mutual language. If I were you, I would ban it from the start to avoid confusion. You should both study aside from this exchange and use your time together specifically for speaking and listening, what you can do is set specific topics to research in order to know what you are going to speak about at each meeting. (look at THIS)
With tandem language learning, each of you should ideally be native speakers of each language. You need to establish specific times for the use of each language and you share your knowledge with each other. This type of learning has all of the benefits of language learning partners but also adds to them the cultural side of language learning. When two people come from different parts of the world, you can share cultures and this makes the whole experience more fulfilling. The negative side to this type of exchange is the level; it is difficult to find someone from a different culture with a similar type of level to you. It is all too easy to slip into ´the common language´ as it is easier for both people, this is why you need established times for each language. This of course would not be the case with language learning partners because the mutual language is already known and should be prohibited.
Those who impart on these types of exchanges generally achieve better results in the testing of listening comprehension and speaking. (see HERE) This is because they have had more practice and can generally use spoken language with more confidence and fluency. (see HERE)
An indirect benefit from these exchanges is through the analysis of language. By doing these types of exchanges, it is easy to see the similarities between languages (there are many between English and Spanish, e.g. …ation words) and also, to see the differences that occur (false friends etc.). (see HERE)