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Our tandem experiences

Last semester Anika and Gregor have participated in the Tandem Language Learning Program - they have described their experience for our blog:

When I first decided to sign up for the Tandem program I thought to myself, “Sure, why not”. But it wasn’t until late June when I realized how great of a decision I made. I got matched with my partner, Gregor, and was first anxious because I couldn’t find him on social media, which is extremely uncommon in American culture. Nonetheless, we met at the library cafe and talked over coffees, and my experience only blossomed from there. We met quite frequently and were able to teach each other about Austrian and American culture, as well as practicing speaking English and German to each other. Prior to starting my study abroad experience in Vienna I had only taken one basic German class at my university in San Diego, so I was unsure how much Gregor could teach me because I hadn’t learned all of the basic verbs and tenses, yet. To my surprise I did end up learning a good amount of sentences and phrases to help me navigate living in Vienna, with minimal German knowledge. If you are an exchange student like me, with extremely minimal German language practice, don’t set the bar too high for yourself; after all, you and your partner are just students and can’t possibly perfect each others language skills. During my meetings with Gregor, I found myself more interested to learn about how Austrian culture varied from my American/Californian culture I am so used to. Gregor was an extremely understanding and eager partner, which I greatly lucked out on. Although we did spend a large amount of our time practicing speaking English and German, we also set aside time to talk about how our two lifestyles varied and also if we could find any similarities.

Being an exchange student is an intimidating but also extremely rewarding experience, and participating in this program is just one of the many ways I found my second home in Vienna. by Anika Rohlfes