Language Exchanges are a relatively old way of practicing foreign languages with native speakers of other languages. In fact, TANDEM International was the first organization to patent the method TANDEM of language exchanges over than 30 years ago.
Although it’s been around for some time, in recent years this activity is increasingly becoming popular for several reasons.
One of them is the possibility of meeting new people in a relaxed atmosphere, making language learning also a social event, what provides an additional stimulus to didactic interest. Another factor is its low cost, since in most cases the event itself is free or at a very affordable price, and you usually pay only for the drinks you have in the venue. It also influences this success the fact that it is an improvised interaction, where the practice of language flows naturally, and conversations revolve around common themes of everyday life, of interest of the participants.
1 – Online language exchanges
First of all, you can make an online language exchange between people from anywhere in the world via Skype, Whatsapp or any other form of digital communication. Due to this, countless platforms for people seeking exchanges are emerginf, both through Web sites and mobile applications. Some platforms also offer the possibility that people living in the same city to communicate for appointments and practice together anywhere.
2 – Language exchange parties
Among all these methods of exchange, the most widespread is probably the language exchange party. In Madrid there are parties of this kind several days a week, almost every week of the year. It works quite simply. Just go to a place where the party is taking place, which normally is free, and there is a person in charge of introducing participants to each other, and they seek who want to talk with by themselves, while enjoying a drink and music. It is basically a night out event that can be found in any type of bar in town, but where people have the common goal to practice another language and learn more about the culture of other people. Sometimes it involves small inconveniences, like everything else. For example, the time of each interaction is usually short. Other times, the noise level of the venue impairs good conversation, what on the other hand can also be beneficial, because you learn to understand better what others say behind loud noise.
3 – Language exchanges in pairs
In these parties you can meet interesting people hang out for further meetings. They are face to face exchanges (exchanges in pairs, or “in tandem”), where people get together to chat somewhere of their choice, or in events and parties organized by individuals or companies. The exchange in pairs is also becoming increasingly popular, especially because it can be done by people of any age, anywhere, even among children under parental supervision. In addition, it may be totally free, since it is not even necessary to pay a drink in a bar or coffee if you meet outdoors. The disadvantage here is that like any blind date, you never know if you find a partner with worthwhile practice, either by his own personality, differences in interests or their poor knowledge of their own language.
4 – The TANDEM Language Exchange
The method TANDEM language exchange, on the other hand, seeks to unite the best of both worlds. On the one hand trying to make the interaction between the participants become fun and relaxed, and the other is to ensure that there is better quality teaching and learning is more effective. For start, we make couples between the participants in a customized way, by matching them according to various criteria such as age, nationality, common interests, etc. Candidates can apply in the page about TANDEM Language Exchanges, and the Professor Susana Molina begins to interview one by one, to ensure that the most of them can find a suitable tandem partner. Then, she constantly monitors all exchanges, gathering feedbacks, and uses this information to improve each exchange in particular and all the service in general. If participants are not happy with their exchange partner, we look for another couple as soon as possible. TANDEM Madrid also offers educational advice to participants and materials, so they can develop learning activities together during the meetings.
Therefore, a language exchange TANDEM comes with guarantees and additional resources for participants, with an organization committed to seek the satisfaction of everyone involved and create a learning experience exclusive and effective.
TANDEM Madrid also organizes collective language exchange meetings or parties sporadically. Sometimes we do it in the beautiful inner courtyard of the school, when time permits. Other times we look for bars and coffee shops in Madrid that can provide a suitable environment for this activity that are inspiring and original, as the TANDEM spirit is. The last two meetings were held in La Lata Montada, near the school, and The Traveller Madrid bar, which comes out as a perfect blend between a coffe shop and a signature cocktail’s bar.
If you want to participate in the TANDEM language exchanges we organize, or in any of our parties, just sign up on the online form found on the page dedicated to TANDEM language exchange. We’ll do our best to make your experience as exciting and instructive as possible.
Below there are some pictures of our past language exchange meetings.