Don't you know what a tandem is? Maybe it will sound more familiar to you if I tell you a language exchange. Surely you have ever met a foreign Spanish student who has suggested you do a tandem to practice the language. A tandem is neither more nor less than a meeting between two people to talk about various topics during which each one speaks for a while in their native language so that the partner can practice the language they are studying.
You may think that you already invest enough time in learning English and that you don't need to do any tandem, but you are wrong. A tandem is something complementary to your English classes, since it is mainly focused on improving your oral expression. One of the most complicated points when it comes to improving your level of English is fluency when speaking. Due to shame or simply lack of opportunities, this skill is the one that tends to lag the furthest behind in our progress.
Is it possible to do an English tandem in Cartagena?
Of course. Nowadays there are no geographical limitations for those who want to learn English. In Cartagena you have the opportunity to do tandem in person or online. We tell you how you can find a tandem in Cartagena:
- Search Facebook groups
In this social network you can find exchange groups in various languages with people who, like you, want to improve their oral expression in a colloquial way. Take a look at the group wall and look for interested people. Write to those people and try to find some free time to get to know each other and start your tandem.
2. Search local portals
On local or regional portals, such as Informajoven, you can find information about different exchange groups that meet weekly at one point in the city. Go to one of those hangouts and if you like the atmosphere, try to start a conversation with someone. There are surely many native English speakers interested in practicing Spanish.
3. Download Tandem Apps
As you may have already seen, nowadays there are apps for anything, and of course that is also the case for tandems. With this type of apps you can practice English wherever and whenever you want, so you will no longer have an excuse. You will only have to create your user profile so that you start receiving requests from other people who want to chat with you. It is true that it is more impersonal than in a face-to-face meeting, but if you have a busy day to day it can be a great solution.
Reasons to make a tandem
We have already told you how easy it is to find a partner to do language exchange, but you may still be wondering what use it will be to do a tandem.
- It will help you for your exams
As we have mentioned before, oral expression is one of the points in which English students are weakest, which is why it is important to reinforce it. If, for example, you are preparing the official cambridge exam Doing a tandem will make you feel more confident when doing the speaking part. Practice as much as you can with your tandem partner before test day and you will come into it with much more confidence in yourself.
2. It will help you improve your skills
In the tandem you will not only practice oral expression in English, but also oral comprehension, since your partner will be a native speaker. Even if you have some difficulties at first, don't be discouraged. Get used to your partner's colloquial way of speaking, since that is the “street English” that you will have to face when traveling to any English-speaking country.
3. You will know other accents
It is very good to study formal English in one of the best English academies in Cartagena, but it is also important to go out and know the different accents of English that exist in the world. You already know that the British accent is very different from the American or Australian accent. Look for tandem partners from different countries so you can familiarize yourself with their accents and learn about the differences in vocabulary in each country's variety.
4. You will do cultural exchange
It's not all about practicing English, it's also important to broaden our horizons and a tandem is the perfect opportunity. Chat with your partner about how to live in their country, about gastronomy, culture or whatever. The important thing is to learn.
5. You will help someone else
Contributing to someone else's learning is something very nice and you already know that your partner will be very grateful. Making a tandem requires availability, patience and effort to be productive. Do your best to reciprocate your partner during your moments together.
6. You will meet new friends
Perhaps during your conversations you will discover that you have things in common and that you can make plans together outside of tandem time. An exchange is an excellent opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
5 tips to take advantage of your tandem
If you want to get the most out of your language exchange, follow the advice we leave you below:
- Find a partner of your level
Make sure that your partner has a level in your native language similar to that you have in theirs, otherwise it will be very difficult for the conversation to flow.
2. Set a day for your meeting
In order to take advantage of this exchange you must practice regularly, at least once a week. Commit to seeing each other one day a week at a specific time and reserve that time. Last minute excuses are not valid.
3. Prepare conversation topics
A tandem is somewhat informal, but if you already have some conversation topics prepared it will be much more beneficial. If you prepare them beforehand you can ask your partner questions and resolve them instantly.
4. Divide time fairly
Don't forget that a tandem is an exchange and both of you should benefit. Establish how long the session will last and divide the time so that you both practice equally during your meeting.
5. Make corrections
To learn well we all need to be corrected. If the conversation is flowing well, don't stop your partner. Simply keep a notebook, write down corrections, and comment on them at the end of the session. I'm sure he'll thank you.
So far, everything we wanted to tell you about the great experience of riding a tandem. We hope we have convinced you that this is one of the most fun ways to learn English, we definitely recommend it, you will surely not regret it.