I have been doing tandem language exchange quite a few times during the last years here in Berlin. While i do agree that this is a really good way to practise a language it can also be very hard to come up with good plans on how to organize the meetings.
So i'd like to ask do you have any favourite topics, games and just general tips for making exchange more fun and rewarding?
Translating texts togehter.
We often look for texts from books, comics, articles or any other interesting material that suits each others level.
Then translating it together is usually pretty fun and tends to reveal all sorts of hidden meanings, jokes and other things that I would have missed if doing it alone.
Meet up regularly
Depending on how busy you are, this might be an issue. But in order to make some noticeable progress and thus keep the motivation up - you’d really need to be meeting at least once a week.
Dont switch languages too often
When we’re doing language exchange I find it important to be fairly strict with not mixing the languages. So after ordering coffee and chatting a bit we’d start out with 30 minutes in spanish without any cheating by switching to english. Then after the session has ended we’d take a few minutes to relax and then start another session in German.
At least half an hour in each language seems good so that you start thinking in that languagfe and really have to try hard to make up sentences. But for beginners it might be a bit overwhelming so you a bit shorter intervalls might be more beneficial.
We mainly use a dictionary and notebook with notes from past sessions (really useful!) to fill in the missing vocabulary. Remember that the harder you try the more you’ll learn