Tandem Language Learning 👬 How to Find and Study with a Language Partner

Language Tandem // How To Find One & Why You Should Spend Time With One

Learning a language is much more than learning vocabulary and grinding down the grammar. The key to mastering any language is of course to practice speaking. This is where a Language Tandem comes in.

Strong bonds at LTL

Yes, you can talk to your family member, your pet or even yourself (ever heard of shower conversations?!) – but the chances are low that they will understand and even lower that they will give you feedback. 

That’s where a Chinese language partner might be a great solution for you!

Tandem Language Learning is a superb way to not only improve your language skills, but build a close bond with others and make friends that last a lifetime.

The setting can always be casual, relaxed and easy-going taking any classroom pressures you may feel.

Let’s look more now into what a language tandem is, and why we think you should be getting one!

Tandem Language Learning | What Exactly is a Language Tandem?

Tandem Language Learning | Why Find a Language Tandem?

Tandem Language Learning | How to Find a Language Tandem?

Tandem Language Learning | How to Study with a Language Tandem?

Tandem Language Learning | FAQ’s

Discover the best online Chinese course… Flexi Classes

Language Tandem | What Are They?

With a language tandem you usually get together, in person or online, and you’ve guessed it, practice languages together!

This partner is someone who learns your language or the language you are fluent in.

With tandem language learning, you can practice conversation, do homework or exercises together, or just casually chat – there really are no boundaries, and that’s the beauty of a language tandem in a nutshell.

Having a language partner is not only a great way to boost your speaking ability. But it is also a very rewarding concept in general, since it is also a cultural exchange!

Plus, it is a great opportunity to make friends!

Honestly, the thought of speaking Chinese to a native speaker can be a bit intimidating at first, but a language partner is usually someone who is learning YOUR language or the language YOU are fluent at – and therefore in a similar situation.

So, you are basically in the same boat.

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Language Tandem | Why Find a Tandem Language Partner

A language tandem is a great addition to language classes, because your language partner will focus on you, on your pronunciation and your mistakes.

It is much more laid-back than learning in a classroom and you learn so much more than “just” the language.

You learn how people speak in real life situations, you can learn a lot about their culture, and you can basically practice whatever aspect you like.

Another great aspect is that it’s free!

You will help your partner and they will help you. But the most important thing is that if you have found the right partner, it can be so much fun! Sounds like a very rewarding way of learning, right?

Language Tandem | How To Find a Language Tandem?

How can you find the right language partner if you don’t know any Chinese people?

This can be very different depending on your location and availability but there are some possibilities to find a language partner:

  • The more traditional way: See if your city or the local universities / language schools offer some kind of tandem program. The chances are high that there are some exchange students from China at a college or university in your region. Or maybe you have luck and find native speakers at work. 
LTL’s Mascot – Lex the Lion
  • Probably the easier way: Nowadays you can easily find a language partner online. Since you are not bound to your location, there are many more great opportunities to find like-minded people who want to learn your language. See if there are language exchange groups on social media, such as Facebook. Other possibilities include apps specially made to find language partners, like Tandem or HelloTalk. Of course, it might take some luck and time to find someone – but there are hundreds of people out there, so you surely will find someone who matches your learning expectations and somewhat your personality and interests. 

BONUS TIPS – at LTL there are a couple of ways you can also find a language tandem.

Firstly, LTL’s online students all have access to a forum, where students share tips and tricks for learning a language. It’s a great place to get to know students better and build bonds away from the LTL online classroom.

You can check out the forum here. To actively post there you need a Flexi Classes account which you can get here.

The LTL forum is a great place to meet a language tandem partner

Another BONUS TIP from LTL comes in the form of the “Connection Kit”. It’s worth noting this is something only LTL students can purchase so you’d need to be a student of theirs, but essentially the connection kit finds you two language partners.

They already have a page with more details about it, you can read about it here. Any new LTL students going to their campus, I wholeheartedly recommend this!

Finding the right language partner can take some time and maybe a couple tries.

Different people have of course different views, opinions and ways of learning.

We don’t necessarily get along well with every person we ever engage with, so of course there are some people with whom you will get along with better than others.

Whatever way you find a partner, it always needs a bit of luck.

EXTRA BONUS TIP – If you have the chance, try to specifically look for someone whose language ability of your language matches your Chinese level. That way you will get the best results, because you won’t be tempted to stick to just one language. 

It’s vitally important to make the language tandem a 50-50 thing and not a 75-25, or even worse 90-10, which can happen especially if you just speak one language during the first meet.

Establish the ground rules from the very start 🙂

Language Tandem | How To Study with a Language Tandem?

There are many different approaches on how to study with a language partner.

These differ especially depending on your language ability.

It’s worth noting that it is not impossible to study together if your levels do differ.

Chinese Sentence Structure

Especially if you are taking classes. You can do homework together, practice vocabulary and create basic sentences or read dialogues from your class material.

If both of you have a rather high level, you can choose some topics that interest you and chat about these.

Maybe you both love to cook, or enjoy watching sport – find a common ground. This helps a lot early on especially.

You can also think of a topic in advance and discuss this next time, so you have time to prepare.

The nice thing is that conversation practice doesn’t have to be fixed in terms of location. You can meet for a coffee, go for a walk, do some sightseeing whilst talking about animals in the Zoo for example! The possibilities are endless.

The thing to keep in mind is to have a bit of a structure and continuity. For many language tandems it works best to schedule a regular time to meet or chat each week.

When you meet for an hour, you can split it in half, 30 minutes for your native langue and 30 minutes for your target language.

You can easily just set a timer that indicates the “language swap”. Try to meet up as often as possible and why not also stay in touch outside of your meet-up hours and exchange voice messages and chat online.

Learn Chinese - Language Tandem

Everyone has different study habits, and the possibilities are endless, so you can try whatever works best for both of you.

Always be kind and patient.

Some people learn faster, some slower. Some have more trouble with pronunciation, some more with grammar.

You are there to help them and they are there to help you. Give constructive feedback and be open to receiving and applying feedback.

In the end, try to have some serious study time together but also don’t go overboard.

Make it fun, try to get to know your language partner better, be open to making real friends.

Even if the study session with you and your language partner doesn’t work out as excepted, you can still learn from each other, even if it is more of a cultural exchange than a language exchange.

You can gain friends for life in the form of language tandems, so what are you waiting for!


Do you already have a language tandem? What is your experience with tandem language learning?

Tell us in the comments below and share your story.

Language Tandem | FAQ’s

What is a language tandem?

With a language tandem you usually get together, in person or online, and, you’ve guessed it, practice languages together!

This partner is someone who learns your language or the language you are fluent in.

With tandem language learning, together you can practice conversation, do homework or exercises together, or just casually chat – there really are no boundaries, and that’s the beauty of a language tandem in a nutshell.

How can I find a language tandem?

The more traditional way: See if your city or the local universities / language schools offer some kind of tandem program.

The chances are high that there are some exchange students from China at a college or university in your region. Or maybe you have luck and find native speakers at work. 

Probably the easier way: Nowadays you can easily find a language partner online. Since you are not bound to your location, there are many more great opportunities to find like-minded people who want to learn your language.

See if there are language exchange groups on social media, such as Facebook. Other possibilities include apps specially made to find language partners, like Tandem or HelloTalk.

Of course, it might take some luck and time to find someone – but there are hundreds of people out there, so you surely will find someone who matches your learning expectations and somewhat your personality and interests. 

Is a language tandem a good way to learn a language?

They really are!

The thing to keep in mind is to have a bit of a structure and continuity. For many language tandems it works best to schedule a regular time to meet or chat each week.

Can LTL help find me a language partner?

Yes!

This comes in the form of the “Connection Kit”.

It’s worth noting this is something only LTL students can purchase so you’d need to be a student of theirs, but essentially the connection kit finds you two language partners.

They already have a page with more details about it, you can read about it here. Any new LTL students going to their campus I wholeheartedly recommend this!

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  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi , Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Mandarin School!

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