Every Tandem Tale is different. So far, we’ve had meetups in different cities, art exhibitions, various day trips, but this Tandem Tale from Irina in Russia is a first. Her language exchange on Tandem took her to Italy to stay with an Italian grandmother! Here’s the full story…

Irina joined the Tandem community to practice Italian with native speakers and with the hope that she’d be able to fulfill her dream and to travel to Italy. “One day, I just fell in love with Italy. I dreamt about visiting this bright and sunny country, 🇮🇹” Irina says. “I didn’t want to be in Italy as a tourist, but as a real local Italian, soaking up all the Italian culture!”

Sometimes, when we have a burning desire to do something, the universe surprises us and helps us achieve our goals. A year and a half ago, Irina connected with two Italians on Tandem. The two guys were both learning Russian and in exchange, they helped Irina practice her Italian. Gradually, their language exchange turned into a true friendship. “There came a point when we weren’t just helping each other with language learning, but sharing stories and visions, too. It’s so great to see that our language skills are improving and we’re so happy for each other!”

Irina’s new friends knew that she wanted to experience life as a real Italian. One of her Tandem partners kindly invited her to stay with his grandmother. This meant she’d be able to learn about a typical Italian way of life, share thoughts on many different topics in the language and experience living with an Italian woman. What better way to dive into the Italian culture!

With the help of language exchange, the Tandem app and real friendships, Irina’s dream came true. “My dream lived out, 🙌🏻” she says. “My Italian friends took care of me and ensured I was happy and comfortable during my stay. Thanks to them, I was able to explore Italy bit by bit. You see a very different side of the country when you’re shown around by locals.”

As Irina visited Italy with her daughters, the Italian grandmother now has a Russian “granddaughter” and 2 Russian “great-granddaughters”! Irina’s Italian Tandem partners are really making progress with their Russian skills and hope they can visit her in Russia soon.

Do you have a Tandem Tale of your own? We’d love to hear from you if you do! Share your story with us on Facebook or Instagram


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