Although everyone taking part in Tandem is either a student or a member of staff at the University of Bern, it is good to be cautious and arrange your first face-to-face meeting in a public place. Avoid giving away too many personal details until you feel comfortable with your partner, and choose to meet in a restaurant or café.
Work out Tandem rules that both partners can keep.
Decide on your goals. Ask yourself what you want to gain from your Tandem experience.
- Why do I want to improve my language skills?
- Which skills would I like to improve and how do I want to proceed?
- Which topics interest me?
- Which subjects interest my Tandem partner?
- How do I learn best?
- Be fair. Reserve an equal amount of time for each language, e.g. one hour of German and one hour of French, and try not to mix the languages.
- Set aside regular times for your Tandem sessions and make every attempt not to cancel at the last minute.
- If concentrating on speaking skills, decide when and how you want to be corrected (always / often / only for serious mistakes) and keep a diary of your progress.
- Prepare for your Tandem sessions. Bring the materials you need, e.g. newspapers, pictures and articles, and keep a record of your meetings in the form of a Tandem diary.
And don't forget to have fun...
You are not a teacher, but a learning partner. You need not know everything about your native language such as grammar rules, etc. Tandem is a method of practising your chosen language in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere without the pressure of exams. So, enjoy!