There is no limit to learning languages. Originally from the Philippines, Giancarlo has traveled to the other side of the world and back again to meet his Tandem friends. Now calling Messina, Italy home, Giancarlo speaks three languages fluently—Italian, English and Filipino—and is learning, wait for it, five languages—Korean, French, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish! Here is Giancarlo’s multilingual and multicultural Tandem Tale.
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Giancarlo has been using Tandem since April 2017 to make new connections and to practice his FIVE languages with native speakers. He learned Filipino and Tagalog in the Philippines and learned Italian after himself and his family moved to Italy eleven years ago. “I learned Spanish and French during high school (I majored in foreign languages in Italy). I studied Korean by myself and learned some useful sentences from my friends. I am learning Chinese and Japanese from anime and dramas, so I don't speak it as fluently as Korean.”
Giancarlo met up with his first Tandem friend in Torino, Northern Italy in June 2018, but his most special trip was to South Korea in June earlier this year. Giancarlo had been speaking with Junho and Eunji for over a year on Tandem. He introduced his two tandem partners to each other over lunch and was also introduced to Junho’s friend who also uses Tandem—like one big Tandem family! The four of them ate lunch together at a chicken resto-bar in Hongdae, hung out for a little while and then separated ways. One funny memory Giancarlo recounts of Korea was when his two friends were walking so fast that he and Eunji had to catch up every time! They managed to lose them and found themselves lost in the middle of Hongdae. oops!
Giancarlo’s next Tandem adventure took him to Singapore a month later, to meet up with his Chinese friend. Giancarlo seems to get lost quite easily because even in Singapore his Tandem friend picked him up at the MRT station—to avoid round two of what happened in Korea! They shared lots of fun stories and experiences over lunch in Chinatown, followed by spending the day shopping and exploring new places around the city. Giancarlo tried all the local Singaporean dishes and his friend even queued for 30 minutes to get him to taste this famous chicken rice from a Michelin star restaurant!
One of Giancarlo’s top tips for having a great experience with a Tandem partner is to share. “Share as much as possible—pictures, videos and parts of your everyday life. Share some interesting stories too. Communication is the key to having a long friendship with friends online." Giancarlo finds it important to be able to laugh and make jokes with your Tandem partner. "It shows that you are comfortable communicating with each other and can talk about anything." Giancarlo’s final tip for a successful language exchange is to be friendly, patient, and understanding of your Tandem partner’s level of your language.
Giancarlo is still very close to his Tandem friends, with most being from when he first joined Tandem! He is already planning on returning to Korea and Singapore, which he hopes to organize in the next video call with his Tandem friends!
Inspired by Giancarlo’s Tandem Tale? Download the Tandem app today and make some new Tandem friends!