Degree Programs & Courses Language Courses

What is Tandem language learning?

Tandem learning is a learning partnership between two people with different mother tongues. The participants meet regularly or communicate via email or chat lines to improve their language skills and to learn something about each other's culture and country.

Learn at your own pace

Set your own goals and develop your learning strategies together with your Tandem partner. Tandem is based on autonomous learning, and each Tandem partner chooses how they would like to move forward, deciding on their own learning strategies and the material or topics they want to cover.

How often?

Regular Tandem sessions are recommended - the more you practice your language skills, the more you benefit. You can opt for face-to-face sessions or communicate via email or chat lines in a form of distance learning - the choice is yours. Participation in Tandem is independent of any university-run language courses and there are no set rules - just agree the form and method of communciation with your Tandem partner.

Supply and demand

Please bear in mind that the program depends on supply and demand. It is not always possible to find a suitable Tandem language partner as the demand for some languages is far higher than for others.

Who can participate?

The Tandem learning program is open only to students currently matriculated at the University of Bern and to members of staff employed by the University of Bern. The service is not open to BENEFRI students unless the University of Bern is their home university. No applications will be accepted from third parties.

Tandem participants must have reached a minimum standard of at least A2 or higher in their target language before they sign up. Check your level on the Council of Europe Self Assessment Scale if you aren't sure. As a Tandem partner is unlikely to be a trained language teacher, the program is unsuitable for complete beginners. 

How do I sign up?  And what happens to my Tandem application?

Sign up for the program by clicking on Tandem registration and filling out the application form. 

Use your campus account email to request a partner. If you are a staff member, please use your email address. Applications sent from private email addresses cannot be considered.

When we receive your application, we check for a suitable Tandem match and answer you via email. It may take more than a couple of weeks before you hear from us. And if we can't find an immediate match, we will keep your details on file unless otherwise instructed.

To avoid disappointment, please use your campus account to request a partner and don't forget to include your student matriculation number in your request. Applications received without an official email address and student number cannot be processed.