What is a language tandem?
In the context of a language tandem or language partnership, two speakers of distinct mother tongues meet up. Both conversational partners may take turns communicating in both languages to improve their knowledge of their second language.
My language tandem with Marie
When I started my studies after my A-Levels, I found out through a notice at the student refectory board that there was a demand for new tandem partners for a language exchange. As I have always been keenly interested in other languages, this was a great opportunity for me to also better get to know an unknown culture. Thus, I came to know Marie from France. She came to Germany for her Master's Degree Studies in International Relations. As all of her courses were held in English, she intended to brush up her knowledge of German on a private basis during her studies. To me, it was a great possibility to improve my school French.
Together, we explored many different towns and organised German and French evenings with typical meals and movie classics of both countries. We quickly became close friends, with Marie still being an important part of my life. Today, Marie is working for the European Union in Strasbourg and we remain in touch.
Why is a language tandem such a great decision?
- You best learn a language by regularly speaking it.
- Being a tandem partner offers you the chance to talk to a native speaker, who is also able to give you an insight not only into grammar and vocab, but also into his or her own culture.
- Furthermore, you have the opportunity to present your culture and language to your partner. You both get most out of this programme.
- While you are outlining the specifics of your own language and social traditions, you will learn even more about your own country and its special qualities.
- Generally, tandem learning and explaining helps you grab the structure of languages. Thus, the acquisition of new languages becomes easier for you.
- A language exchange simply is great fun: You can individually decide together with your tandem partner which topics you wish to discuss or which trips you wish to go on.
- You have the opportunity to get to know new people and even find friends for life.
Your way to language tandem
In many of the larger towns you will find associations, language institutes and universities organising tandem partnerships. Apart from these, you may nowadays choose among a number of great, useful apps and social media to find native speaker living close to your home or with whom you can communicate online.
I believe, this is a great possibility for learning and improving your language knowledge, for immersing yourself into another culture and making new friends.