A Fun Way to Learn Languages at Home

ENHANCE launches virtual language tandem program

Since the end of October, TU members have had the opportunity to learn Spanish, Italian, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, and German from native speakers while also helping others learn their language. Together with its partner universities, ENHANCE, a university alliance, has introduced a language tandem program. 300 participants, including about 40 from TU Berlin, have already signed up. Eager language learners are invited to register on the ENHANCE website to gain access to the Webex-based language platform. You can then use the platform to introduce yourself in a short text and find a suitable tandem partner.

The organizers have ensured participants get off to a good start and put together etiquette rules and tips: How often should you meet and for how long? How would you like to learn a language, by discussing current topics or by doing grammar exercises? How can you make the switch from one language to the other? How do you want to correct errors?

The ENHANCE library provides teaching and learning material. For example, a questionnaire with suggestions on how to discuss a film. There is also a challenging Taboo game for advanced learners of Italian: How do you explain "email" without using the words "electronic," "mail," "message," or "Internet?"

"One of the founding ideas of the ENHANCE project is to develop a model for the European university of the future. The seven member institutions have set themselves the goal of closer collaboration," explains Paul Forberger of TU Berlin's International Scientific Cooperation. "Tandems offer the possibility to experience and share the diversity of languages within the Alliance."

The model for the initiative are the tandem exchanges you can find anywhere where people from different language areas come together. "As our partner universities are located in six different countries, it was clear that we would need to provide a digital solution. The pandemic means that everybody now has experience with digital communication tools and this benefits our project."

Ann-Miriam Dreyer of TU Berlin is one of the first people to take part in the tandems: "The idea of the tandems is really cool - quite different to the classic language school or doing yet another online course."

"Our goal is to increase the number of people taking part in tandems to develop a lively community and provide everyone with the right partner," says Forberger.

Author: Christina Camier


This article was originally published in the December issue of the University magazine TUintern. Read the issue (as an e-paper)