Tandem Language Exchange
TLE is an informal approach to learning and is particularly useful in complementing (not replacing) your language learning in the classroom. The programme is free of charge and all students and staff are welcome to take part. You do not have to be registered for a language course in order to participate, nor do you need to have a high language level to begin with, all you need is the enthusiasm and willingness to learn a foreign language and experience our multicultural environment here at Queen’s.
The TLE programme provides an online platform to help you find a native (or near-native) speaker of your target language and learn languages in a fun, relaxed, and social environment.
How to get started? It’s simple really, just follow 4 steps:
- Fill in the online registration form - we will get in touch via email if we need to clarify any of your details.
- You will then receive an automated email from the TLE platfrom, called Canvas, inviting you to create an account.
- Once you have completed that step, simply login to the TLE platform and find your language partner(s).
- Arrange to meet up to start your language exchange journey!
Luisa: ‘It’s not like talking to a teacher or reading a book: you can ask anything, there are no silly questions… you learn so much more than you would from a book about the country or language. What started off as a language partnership soon turned into a real friendship and apart from learning German and Chinese we also go running together and spend time as friends. I’d advise anyone who is interested in finding a TLE partner to get active as soon as possible and simply give it a go! The platform offers great opportunities and it just takes someone to make the first step…’
Lingzhu: ‘[When] I decided to learn a new language, German, I missed all the German classes… luckily, I found a lovely German girl, Luisa, [through the TLE progamme]… [it] offers me a great chance to know people and make friends … We talk about life, the food, hobbies and so on. We [even] go out running, do sports together. I want to say something to others who have joined or want to join TLE. Don’t be shy … be yourself and enjoy the time learning and talking with your partner. Don’t treat it like a serious lecture. It is more like an easy talk with friends’
How does language exchange work?
The whole idea behind TLE is to allow you to practise the language you’re learning by meeting regularly with a native speaker in a social setting for real-life communication purposes. It’s a good idea to plan your meetings. You can do this together at your first meeting by listing your aims, needs and the topics you both want to cover.
Once you have agreed on the duration of your meeting, its best to divide your time into equal parts, so that both parties have the same opportunity for practice. For example, in a one-hour slot, for the first 30 minutes could be used to practise French with the help of your partner and in the second half you help your French-speaking partner practise Chinese. For exchange partners at beginner level, communicate in English if necessary, but do try to use it sparingly.
How much time should I plan for my meetings?
As much time as you and your partner would like. We recommend that you arrange at least one face-to-face meeting per week and that you also put some time aside each week to independently reflect on what you have learnt and to prepare for your next meeting. When you meet as a pair, it is important that you split the time equally between yourself and your partner, so that both participants have the opportunity to speak in their target language, and also to support and correct the other.
Participants of this TLE programme are current Queen’s student and staff members (including visiting staff and exchange students). When arranging to meet with your exchange partner for the first time, please bear in mind the following safety precautions:
- Always arrange to meet in a public place such as the University Library, the Students’ Union or a coffee shop. Do not arrange to meet in your own accommodation.
- Avoid giving away too much personal information, such as your home address, and be careful about sharing your mobile number.
- Use common sense and instinct during these first few meetings.
- If you have concerns regarding your TLE, please contact the Language Centre at Queen’s (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Is this a taught language course?
No. The aim of the TLE programme is for you to improve your conversational and technical language skills in partnership with another learner. There are language support officers within the Language Centre who will support and advise you, and try to direct you to useful learning resources if required.
Sounds great, how do I enrol?
Fill in the registration form and we will contact you with your login details to the TLE platform within one week of receiving registration details.
Before enrolling please remember to read our terms and conditions.
The TLE programme is free of charge and all students and staff of Queen's University are welcome to take part. Students and staff can join this scheme at any time of the year.