Through letters you probably won’t learn a foreign language from the basics (although who knows, maybe someone did it;) ) but it’s a great way to practice and improve the languages you’ve been already learning for a while. Usually in daily life there aren’t many occasions to write long texts if it’s not for homework. When you write a letter you need to create a longer text, look out for the right grammar because it must be understandable for your penpal and you won’t be able to explain what you mean a moment later when you’re not clear enough like you could do it when speaking. It might be difficult at the beginning but you’ll quickly get more confident. Moreover, in letters usually are brought up various topics so it’s a great opportunity to broaden your vocabulary. If you’re writing with a native speaker you might also get to know colloquial speech and slang words. All this is a lot of work but at the same time a lot of fun so you’ll learn with a great pleasure. I bet all snail mailers who have been corresponding in a foreign language would agree with me about that and can confirm making progress after exchanging some letters.
You don’t need to write only with native speakers of the language you’re learning but find penpals from different countries who know a common language with you and learn some expressions in their native language. Maybe you’ll learn how to write your name in a different alphabet? Or how to say greetings in some exotic language which none of your friends around know? :)
If you're into penpalling and want to share your experiences in your blog according today's reason, please link back here and make a comment that you made an entry :)