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The best way to start speaking a language while making new friends abroad

So you found your dream apartment, settled in your new home, and are doing everything you can to adjust to your new destination. You know that learning French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, or whichever foreign language is native to your new country, is paramount to integrating and experiencing the true native culture. Although beginner or intermediate language courses can really improve your language skills,  it can't really prepare you for the moment when you will need to say your first sentence, order food, or ask for directions at the train station in your new language. What you really need now is a tandem who will get you speaking- fast.

Writen by Danielle Neubauer 

You may have tried speaking to strangers on the street by joining sentences using the latest words learned your language class, but you’re not really making any sense, and let’s face it, your accent is a clear indication of where you come from. 

Sound familiar?

Well, we have a solution for you. 

You need to find someone who has an incentive to sit in front of you and listen to your blabbering, with some heavenly unexplained interest and super human patience to correct every third word you say...

 That perfect someone is a tandem.

The word “tandem” means to mutually work together as team. A tandem is someone you can meet up with to practice a language of your choice, which also happens to be their mother tongue, and visa-versa.  

Everyone should get one!

(It's also free.)
This is a great way to minimize the cost of your studies abroad and save up the money you would have spent on a tutor. 

The business model is somewhat of a non-profit B2B based on "give and take". No money involved! ...(Or maybe just paying for the coffee you treat yourself to while you two talk.)

Still sound weird? Well, here are some motives which explain the benefits to both parties:

Your tandem’s motive: You speak the language that they want to learn, and that suggests that they are interested in learning about your culture too. You’re like an exotic creature in their land, and besides from learning their language, they want to get to know you. 

Your motive: Practicing the language. Finally having someone explain the small gestures you’ve been seeing people do in your new home but never really understood or had someone to talk to about it. They can give you a local’s insight into where to go, what to see, and what not to do (in their native language, of course!), and most importantly listen to you.  

How to do it?

You might feel really embarrassed at first, trying to mumble your first words in the chosen language. Don’t worry about your tandem judging you, because once you switch roles, it will be their turn to impress you. The point is to correct the mistakes the other one makes, until the language you are practicing is flawless.

5  Strategies for finding your perfect tandem:

Potential Tandems are everywhere. You just need to learn to spot them. Here’s a few ways you can go about finding the right One:

1. Language exchange groups:

Every major self-respecting city has language exchange groups. These groups make the cities global, hip, and welcoming to strangers and international students. In the event that your city doesn't, make sure to gather up a cool crew and create your own. 

2. At your university:

Many universities in the world organize these meetings to allow their international students to integrate into the country and meet new people. If you haven’t heard about anything like this, knock on your international office door, and ask the staff members about it. They can give you all the details and point you in the right direction.  

3. Hostels - a meeting point for people from all over the world: 

Some Hostels in your town might also host language exchange meetings. Although you might not want to associate yourself with tourists, a language exchange meeting at a hostel is actually not a bad idea! It could be a meeting point for a lot of locals and international students like yourself, who want to learn that foreign language. Call the closest hostel around and give it a shot.   

4. Facebook pages:

The most effective way to find tandems is through Facebook pages and events. If you search for tandem groups in your city or language, trust me, you’ll be able to find quite a few people who are interesting in meeting up for a coffee, and blabbering in their language of choice. You can even write your own post on what exactly it is that you are looking for, and the right person will find you.

Before you contact your potential tandem, make sure that you are presenting yourself on social media in a way that is not going to freak them out.  You can do that using Rep'nUp, to scan your profile.

5. On the street and here, there and everywhere!

You would be surprised at the amount of people that are interested in learning your language. Doesn't matter if it's widely spoken or not, there will always be that one person in a group that has taken up trying to learn it. If you find someone like that, don't hesitate. Ask them if they want to be your tandem. 

The beautiful thing about “tandeming-up” is that it serves a number of purposes. You get to meet awesome people who are open minded enough to take interest in your culture and your language too. This makes the interest mutual. Second – you get to practice and improve your language of choice and make as many mistakes as you can. Third – you make local friends who will make your stay so much more interesting and give you a genuine experience in your new home. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this article here about the language learning. Your article is very informative and I will share it with my other friends as the information is really very useful. Keep sharing your excellent work. If anyone looking for the best Language Exchange Partner Online, conversationexchangesearch is a good choice.

  2. Many universities in the world organize these meetings to allow their international students to integrate into the country and meet new people Field Engineers. If you haven’t heard about anything like this, knock on your international office door Cisco Business Architecture Practitioner, and ask the staff members about it CCNA. They can give you all the details and point you in the right direction.

  3. These tips are really awesome and did helped me a lot. Thanks again for sharing.

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