Skip to main content
To KTH's start page To KTH's start page

Language tandem - this is how it works

For the best results of the tandem partnership, please find the recommendations below for how tandem exchange should be performed.

What is my role in a tandem partnership?

As a tandem partner, you switch between being a student and a teacher. It is important to respect each other's needs. For example, you may not learn at the same rate or have different ways of learning. Try to find ways to understand things and improve your language skills. Do not forget about feedback, but agree on how you want to be corrected.

Agree on common guidelines

How much time should I invest in my language tandem?

How much time you want to spend on your tandem partnership depends on you and your partner. It is recommended that you invest at least two hours a week in order to make significant linguistic progress.

Where do I meet with my tandem partner?

You can meet wherever you want, but it should be a place that is neither overly loud nor secluded. For the first time, you could meet at the university or a café. A good idea is to meet somewhere where you have common interests, such as a museum, an exhibition or a sporting event.

What can I bring to the tandem meetings?

You can bring any kind of material that in some way affects you - books of different genres, letters, news articles, pictures, etc. Depending on your language level, it may be advisable to bring an introductory dictionary.

How do I communicate with my tandem partner?

You should combine different ways of communicating to make the tandem partnership a rewarding and fun experience, such as face-to-face, phone calls, mail, chats, letters, or postcards.

How do we keep our motivation up?

The tandem guide can provide you with the help of structuring your learning. At the very beginning it can help you clarify what your expectations are and when available. Remember, in a tandem partnership, both parties decide what is being discussed and what you want to learn. Talk about things that interest you both. In addition to everyday things, you may want to discuss issues and questions from language courses or academic issues - ideas for projects that you are involved in may also be a possible discussion topic. It is up to you and your partner to make the tandem experience as fun and enriching as possible.

What can I do if specific problems occur?

If you encounter personal problems or problems associated with the organization of your language tandem and are unable to solve them on your own, contact Language and Communication. They will try to help you solve the problem by email, phone or in a personal meeting. If you need help with this, you can email .

Finally: Language Tandem in a nutshell - tips and advice

  • Practice each language separately.
  • Avoid mixing the languages, ie. code switching.
  • Spend as much time and attention (eg one hour) for each language.
  • Switch between being a teacher and a student.
  • Meet your partner regularly - at least two hours a week.
  • Notify your partner in advance if you are delayed or need to cancel your meeting.
  • Clarify how you want to learn.
  • Agree on how to give and receive feedback.
  • Listen carefully and give your partner plenty of time to find a word or correct oneself.
  • When correcting something, repeat the whole sentence in the correct way.
  • Ask questions if you did not understand your partner.
  • Take notes and discuss mistakes at the end of the meeting.
  • Tell your partner if something bother you.
  • Discuss your progress once a month and adjust if necessary.

Good luck!