Do you want to improve your language skills? Would you like to meet native speakers? Then PIASTA Language Tandem is just the right thing!
Learning in a tandem allows 2 students to teach each other their native languages. For example, if you speak Spanish and you want to improve your German skills, we would look for a tandem partner whose native language is German and who wants to learn Spanish.
For your regular language tandem meetings, you not only learn a language, you also get to know someone and find out more about their country and culture.
Step 1: Who can apply?
- Students at Universität Hamburg
- Participants of the Studienkolleg Hamburg
Languages such as English, French, and Spanish are especially popular, so you might need to be a bit patient when looking for a native speaker.
Step 2: Get in touch with each other
As soon as we have found a suitable partner for you, you will receive a welcome email with further information and your tandem partner’s email address. Just take the first step and send an email!
Make an appointment with your new tandem partner for your first meeting. It’s best to meet on campus—in a café or a student dining hall. Virtual meetings can also be a good idea if one person, for example, has a long commute to campus.
For the first meeting, you can simply get to know your tandem partner and then discuss how to proceed:
- When do you want to schedule your regular meetings?
- What are your personal tandem language-learning goals?
Remember to keep prevailing corona regulations in mind:
What if we do not get along? What if we have nothing to talk about? It is always possible that the match between tandem partners just doesn’t work. Don’t worry; it’s not a problem. Just email us so that we can find a new partner (if desired): piasta-tandem"AT"uni-hamburg.de.
Step 3: Learning a language in a tandem
With everything else students have to tackle throughout the semester, meeting up regularly isn’t always so easy.
Here are a few tips to stay motivated and ensure you are improving your skills in the tandem:
Stick to your regular meeting times
Find a fixed time that suits both partners—once a week or every 2 weeks. Try to attend as much as you can, or you will quickly become frustrated. Learning a language requires regular practice!
Devote sufficient time to both languages
It can easily happen, especially if you both speak one of the languages at a higher level, that you continue to talk in this language only.
Make sure that you really devote the same amount of time to both languages.
Clarify goals together
Talk to each other:
- Why are you learning the language? For vacations, work, or studies?
- What is more important—to understand the spoken language or to read, write, or speak it yourself?
- What do you want to be able to do with the language when you complete the tandem experience?
Correcting in a tandem
Talk about how you wish to be corrected. You can correct implicitly (i.e., by repeating with correct grammar and vocabulary what your partner has just said) or note mistakes and discuss them at the end of the meeting.
The most important thing is to feel comfortable in a tandem and to see corrections as an opportunity to improve your language skills.
After the first meeting and during the semester, ask the following questions:
- What did we do?
- Was it useful?
- How could we improve our meetings?
A learning diary could be helpful
A learning diary could include the following:
- What did we do? Was it useful?
- What language problems arose?
- What are the consequences for the next meeting?
Step 4: Recognition for participating in the language tandem
If you would like to have your intercultural activity in the language tandem recognized at the end of the semester, contact the language tandem coordinators: piasta-tandem"AT"uni-hamburg.de.
To receive confirmation, you must show that the tandem met regularly throughout the semester (at least roughly 18 hours in the semester) and fill out the learning diary. You can record your progress in the learning diary. It is ideal for reflecting upon your learning process.
Successful participation in the Language Tandem Program can also be recognized as Component C: International Campus of the Certificate Intercultural Competence (CIC). German and international students at Universität Hamburg can receive the CIC free of charge. It serves as recognition of intercultural involvement and is an additional distinction for students. Successful participation in 3 of the 4 components is required to earn the certificate.