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Tandem programme pairs students to learn languages

Tampere immigration counseling services and the Finnish Red Cross are set to launch a tandem language study programme. The programme pairs people to teach each other their native languages.

Mustekynä oppikirjaa lukevan pakolaisen kädessä.
Image: Timo Heikura / Yle

Language learning opportunities in Tampere will improve with a programme designed to bring together people eager to try a new language.

The programme is being organised by immigration counseling services and the Häme region multiculturalism division of the Finnish Red Cross.

The tandem course involves pairing people to teach each other their own languages by discussion agreed subjects.

“Information about this method of learning has spread on its own, and we are receiving inquiries about it on a daily basis,” said project coordinator Kristiina Teiss.

There is a glut of people interested in teaching Russian, however organizers have not been able to find pairs for all of them.

Among the rarest languages on offer is the Luganda regional language spoken in Uganda. The project has also been able to pair people to learn Japanese, Ukrainian, Greek and Spanish.

Time and place at students’ convenience

Tandem studies offer more flexibility than traditional language programmes. Couples can agree to meet at their convenience.

“This is a suitable complement to regular language studies,” Teiss said.

Applicants for the programme are asked to provide information about their hobbies to help organizers make the best possible match for them.

“But it’s not bad to have different hobbies, because that can make for more interesting discussions,” Teiss pointed out.

The programme coordinators noted that many immigrants say that they have had difficulty finding the right partner to help them practice their Finnish language skills, as Finns are not generally known to chat with perfect strangers.

Sources: Yle

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