What would you like to achieve?

Consider what you wish to achieve through your language exchange. Why do you want to learn this particular language? What do you want to use the language for? Do you want to be able to participate in conversations in informal contexts? Do you want to improve your pronunciation? Do you want to use the language for work? Think about what you think is the most important thing to focus on, and tell your language buddy. That makes it easier for your to decide what you are going to do or talk about during your "Tandem" meetings. It is also helpful to you as a language learner to have a specific goal with the language exchange: it makes it easier to monitor your own progress and strengthens your motivation to learn.

When you discuss what you wish to achieve through your language exchange, you could use the Council of Europe's templates for creating a personal language portfolio as inspiration. Creating a personal language portfolio could help you reflect on your own language learning: http://www.coe.int/en/web/portfolio/templates-of-the-3-parts-of-a-pel

Discuss the framework for your tandem exchange together with your language buddy. Photo: Språkstudion
Discuss the framework for your tandem exchange together with your language buddy. Photo: Språkstudion

When and how often should you meet?

Before or during your first "Tandem" meeting, decide when and how often you are going to meet. We recommend that you meet at least once a week for 45 minutes or longer. Make sure that you have equal amount of time for both languages.

It is also a good idea to plan for how long your "Tandem" language exchange will go on. A suggestion is to keep your exchange going for 6 months, and when those 6 months are up, discuss if you want to continue or finish your "Tandem" language exchange.

Where should you meet?

You and your language buddy decide together where you should meet. You could meet up at a cafe in the city, in a group room at the university library or by any of the open study places in Studenthuset. Feel free to contact Språkstudion if you need advice on good places  for "Tandem" meetings.

What language should you speak?

It is beneficial to plan how you will to make sure you have equal amount of time for both languages. You could for instance switch language every other "Tandem" meeting; speak one language during the first half of a meeting and speak the other language during the second half of a meeting; or any other way that you feel works best for you. During the "Tandem" meeting, the language buddy whose native language is used at the moment should try to stick to the native language as much as possible, and avoid switching to another language to facilitate the communication. Give it time! Try rephrasing and explaining in your native language when you notice that your language buddy does not understand. Be silent and give your language buddy space to process and understand what you have said. Read more about how to support your language buddy at Tips and advice.

Tips: tandem guidelines at other universities

University of Zurich have compiled a document with guidelines for language exchange via tandem. You could read their guideline document to get inspired for your own language exchange: Tandem guidelines - University of Zurich (50 Kb)

Support from Språkstudion

If you and your language buddy have any questions before or during your "Tandem" language exchange, please contact us. We are happy to help you with tips and advice on how to plan your language exchange. Visit us by our front desk or contact us at info@sprakstudion.su.se.