Need Language Buddies? Get Tandem!

[Pictured woman holding coffee mug in the right hand and iPhone in the left hand]

Bienvenidas mis lingüistas!

Cómo están? Espero que estén muy bien. As you all know, a huge part of learning another language is not only getting a chance to practice your speaking and listening comprehension skills, but also getting helpful feedback from advanced, near native or native speakers. There are so many language apps, forums, live meetups and online groups out there to choose from. For those of you who feel overwhelmed or intimidated and don’t know where to start, I suggest starting with the Tandem app.

I’ve been using the Tandem app for about 3 or 4 years now and while I have used a lot of apps and websites to find language buddies, I find Tandem to be the absolute best. One of the things I loved most about the Tandem app, is how you can correct your language partners’ messages (and vice versa) by holding down on the message and then selecting “correct message” from the pop-up menu list. This was the first thing I noticed when I started using it and immediately, I fell in love with the app. I also noticed, that when you hold down on the message, the option to “translate” the message is also displayed on the pop-up menu list. This is great for when you don’t understand what your language partner is writing, but don’t want to toggle back and forth between apps to figure out what’s being said.

Another good thing about Tandem is that when you create your profile, it gives others a comprehensive look at you as a language partner. For instance, you not only include your language learning levels and interests, but you also include information about the type of learner you are, the topics you prefer to talk about, what type of communication you prefer, and your level of commitment. That way, people can see if your level of commitment matches theirs, and they can set realistic expectations on the amount of help you could offer each other.  You can even leave reviews after having communicated with another user, so that others can know what type of interaction to expect.

Courtesy of Tandem, I was able to use TandemPro for a while and play around with the features. I’m usually the person who would say there are no real differences in Pro versions of apps. But for TandemPro, that’s not true. The main thing that makes TandemPro worth it, is that you could connect with people nearby and arrange a face to face meeting with your language buddy. You could also connect with someone located in a city you’re traveling to and ask for tips on the best ways to experience the city while you’re there. For someone like me, who loves to connect in person and loves to get recommendations of things to do from actual locals, this is perfect! While we live in a crazy time at the moment with quarantining and closed down restaurants, etc., it’s still nice to connect with someone nearby even if you can’t physically meet in person for the time being.

Speaking of quarantine, Tandem supports the #StayHome movement with the hashtag #quarantandem. By creating a topic in your profile, others who want to improve their language skills with a language partner during quarantine can find you! You can get the app here.

Have you used Tandem? If so, what did you think about it? What features did you find especially helpful for your language learning journey? Let us know in the comments below!


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