Registration for the winter term 2021/22 now closed
The registration for the winter term 2021/22 is now closed. We hope that all participants have a fun experience with the Tandem program. You can register for the summer term 2022 in February.
The Raiffeisen Language Resource Center has been home to WU's Tandem Language Learning Program for 17 years. It enables students to teach and learn from one another. In a 'tandem' two students with different native languages and countries are matched together in order to teach and learn from one another. his active cultural and linguistic exchange program is free of charge and students can register before each term. The program is currently open to WU students and incoming exchange students only.
The program was held for the first time in 2002, and so far, over 9000 students have participated in over 67 different language pairs.
“It was a unique experience that we both profited from equally. All it cost was time, but this was time that was well spent as an investment in my future. It was a welcome change to going to classes, it widened my horizon, and I made a new friend,” reports Carla, who was able to improve her own Italian language skills and help her tandem partner learn German through the program.
For many participants, the cultural exchange aspect and the idea of learning outside the classroom are the most important features of the program, while others appreciate the opportunity to use it to prepare for their foreign language courses at WU: “I was able to practice my Russian presentation with my tandem partner, who gave me very helpful tips on pronunciation. Sometimes I brought essays I had prepared ahead of time, and my tandem partner corrected my mistakes and discussed them with me,” said Simone about her tandem experience.
Who can benefit from tandem language learning?
You can benefit at all language levels, however, if you are just beginning to learn a foreign language, we strongly advise you take a class in the language at the same time. If you are an absolute beginner, tandem language learning can only be beneficial as a complement to language classes, not as an alternative to them. Please remember that your tandem partner will be a student like you and not a qualified teacher, and will probably not know how to provide assistance and structure to someone who is learning a language from the very beginning.
Tandem as a free elective
Students can opt to earn credit for the Tandem Program as a free elective (2 ECTS) if desired. Alternatively, you can choose to take part in the Tandem Program without the obligation to fulfill any requirements. Students who select the first option and meet all the requirements – both regular WU degree-program students enrolled in the Bachelor Program in Business, Economics and Social Sciences (BESC) and Business and Economics (BBE) at WU Vienna and incoming exchange students – will receive a certificate from WU which is accepted as credit for a free elective worth 2 ECTS credits. However, only the incoming students’ home university can decide whether the 2 ECTS credits are eligible for credit transfer back home.
Many students see this as an added value of the program: “I think it's really, really great that it is now possible to collect ECTS points for the tandem program. Thanks for introducing this innovation! I have used the new program primarily as an incentive to stay motivated and make the partnership truly effective. The structure of the program through the logs, video recordings and ECTS, makes it easier to focus on a goal. Although I already have more than enough ECTS for free electives, I was still more motivated to follow through to the end."
In order to obtain the 2 ECTS credits, students must fulfill the following requirements:
Attendance of the kick-off event at the start of the Tandem Program
Determination of individual goals to be achieved through the Tandem activities
10 meetings with Tandem partner
Completion of a Tandem journal
3 video recordings of meetings with the Tandem partner
Submission of an essay on the Tandem experience
Final review meeting with the Tandem supervisor
What criteria do we use to process applications?
All applications are processed on the basis of the following criteria:
Number of hours to be invested in the tandem program
Once the automatic selection process based on these criteria is completed, we start considering the second language preference so as to offer as many applicants as possible the opportunity to benefit from this language learning experience. Usually, the first tandem pairs are selected about one week after the start of the registration period (i.e. as soon as the number of applications in the database enables enough combinations). Afterwards, the process continues until the end of the registration period.
Why is the application no guarantee that you will be assigned a tandem partner?
We are very pleased with the increasing popularity of the tandem language learning program and always do our best to provide as many students as possible with a tandem. We are also glad that this development has been particularly beneficial for languages that are not taught at WU (e.g. Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, etc.), as the increased publicity has made it possible to reach students who were interested in learning these languages. A small drawback is that this has also raised the number of applications for the most popular languages and we are not always able to match the demand.
In the summer term 2020 we received 486 applications. Not all exchange students who had applied for the tandem program could be successfully matched, either because they wanted to learn languages other than German (mainly English), or because we could not find WU students who wanted to learn their native languages. In the following table you can find a summary of the key facts for last semester:
|Number of Applications||486|
|Number of tandem pairings||114|
|Different language combinations||21|
|Language combinations by the numbers|