Tandem was originally created so that people from all corners of the world could learn languages together. We’re so pleased that over 5m people are taking this opportunity to teach each other using video and chat through our app. We decided to make it easier for our members to look for a Tandem partner who lives nearby, and meet up face to face. That’s why we took the decision to add locations to profiles and give members the chance to look for other members nearby to them. This is currently available as a premium feature through Tandem Pro subscription. We’re excited to finally be able to offer tandems the old-school way for those who want to! Tandem is a safe, moderated community and we ban members that use fake profiles or act aggressively. However, you should still use common sense when meeting up with a friend from Tandem for the first time! Meeting someone face to face can feel a bit risky, but there are a few things you can do to make sure your face-to-face language exchange is a success!
Use Tandem to talk to your partner extensively and find out beforehand that you have things in common. Also use this time to look out for any inconsistencies in what they are telling you. Does your new partner’s story make sense? Do they have a good reason for being on the app? Are their requests strange? Remember that Tandem is a language learning platform, so anyone who is only interested in something else, particularly dating, are probably not the kinds of people you should be meeting for a face-to-face language exchange.
This might seem obvious, but make sure that you have actually spoken to your partner on Tandem via video at least a few times before you meet them face-to-face. Instant messaging is great, but often people can be quite different when you meet them in person. You need to see and hear your partner to get a good feeling for how successful the language exchange will be!
This goes for all language exchanges! It is important to work out early on what your partner wants to get from the language exchange, and share your own goals too. This is especially important when you are of different language levels, or if you are using a third mutually understood language to communicate. This way you can set out the boundaries and goals before you even meet, and can spend all of your precious face-to-face time enjoying the language exchange.
Day time is the best for language exchange - remember, you are both studying and are there to learn. A daytime meeting will keep things relatively businesslike and professional! We’d advise avoiding alcohol on your first meeting. While a glass of wine or bottle of beer might be tempting to get the conversation flowing, it’s wise to be fully on the ball.
You want to meet somewhere that is easy for both of you to get to. It should also be a neutral, public place with good lighting, preferably in a lively and busy part of town. You’ll be talking lots, so ideally find somewhere relatively quiet with refreshments - a café or ice cream parlour would work well. Avoid dark bars and nightclubs… they aren’t ideal locations for a language exchange 😉
It can be a bit exhausting to talk to someone new face to face even when you’ve been chatting for hours on Tandem, so don’t overestimate how long you’ll want to chat the first time. An hour, with half an hour for each language, should be enough, then once you know each other better you’ll feel comfortable chatting for much longer periods.
As you should do whenever you meet someone for the first time, it is a good idea to let your friends or family know where you are going and who you are meeting. Remember - if you’re not so keen on doing a face-to-face language exchange, Tandem is the perfect place to practice your skills without even having to leave your couch!