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Finding a tandem partner

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Date12 Jan 2022

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The tandem method of language learning is designed to bring together two people who are learning each other's mother tongue. Finding a tandem partner that suits you is the first step for a successful tandem. There are many websites and apps for this. We have listed a selection here:

Before you start a request, you should think about exactly what you expect from the tandem method and what your partner should be like, so that you can communicate this clearly. This also includes your language level. You should be honest here, because the tandem usually works better if both have the same level. For a tandem, you should already be advanced enough in your target language to be able to hold a conversation. After all, your partner is not a substitute for language lessons. It would be too much to ask a tandem partner to explain the basics of the language. Language learning with the tandem method is therefore based on formal language teaching.

Check out the basics of the Tandem Method of language learning here!

In your application, you should reveal some information about yourself so that the other person knows who they are dealing with. Common interests are an advantage so that you have a topic for the first conversation. However, an interest in the other person's culture and language is a good start.  If you state the reasons for your interest in the other language in the application (such as a stay abroad, studying or other), your counterpart will have a better idea of what you need.

Respect and patience are important for the success of the tandem. Be prepared for your partner to speak slowly and make mistakes, this is part of the process. The tandem should be a learning space where both feel safe. Praise can boost each other's self-confidence and trust in the method.

However, it is legitimate to break up the tandem if it is not a good fit. You should talk openly about your ideas, expectations and goals so that both of you can get involved. Nevertheless, you may not feel comfortable with the tandem or the language level may not be right. The tandem should be successful for both partners. So if you notice that it's not right for you, break it up sooner rather than later and start finding a tandem partner that suits you better. 

The tandem method is not only great for practising speaking a foreign language, but also for getting in touch with people. Tandems often develop into beautiful friendships.

Do you have any questions about how to find a tandem partner? Write them in the comments or directly to us ([email protected])!

Written by: Tanja Holbe 

Cover Photo Credit: Etienne Boulanger - Unsplash

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