Exchange your language skills at Aarhus University

A new grassroots initiative at Aarhus University gives students and staff the opportunity to improve their foreign language skills, learn about other cultures and grow their international network for free and in an informal setting. The project is called “Language Tandem at AU.”

08.12.2015 | Ulrik Albert Vosgerau

-

Vladimir Stolba (left) and Jeppe Fallesen (right) meet every week at Vladimirs office at AU.

Jeppe Fallesen is a Danish student of Eastern European studies who would like to improve his Russian. Vladimir Stolba is a professor at Aarhus University from Russia who would like to learn more Danish. They now meet every week, speaking Danish and Russian alternately. Jeppe and Vladimir found each other through “Language Tandem at AU”, which is a new grassroots project at Aarhus University designed to pair up people interested in learning language. 

“It’s a great way to learn another language. Some days we talk for more than two hours, and this gives me the opportunity to say much more than in an ordinary class setting,” Jeppe says.

Vladimir Stolba is an associate professor of classical archaeology, and he thinks it’s important that he is not Jeppe’s teacher.

“If I was Jeppe’s teacher this would be a class and not a language tandem. In this setting language mistakes are expected, and I see this as a great advantage of the language tandem format,” says Vladimir.

The linguistic exchange market
At Aarhus University you can find students from all over the world who speak everything from Korean and Norwegian to English and Croatian. Which is why Sonja Wolf, who is responsible for the project, thought that AU would be a good place to start a tandem project. 

“Many other international universities have established language tandems to match people who want to learn another language. Aarhus University was an obvious place to start a similar project, because the whole world passes through here. We’ve got off to a good start, and now have a Facebook group with more than 200 members and more than 25 languages ​​represented. But there’s room for many more,” says Wolf.

More than language
The language tandem project gives participants plenty of chance to practise the language they want to master, but it also provides intercultural competences – and the possibility of finding a new friend, Sonja Wolf points out, which are observations that Vladimir and Jeppe have made as well. 

“I’m heading off to Saint Petersburg soon, and Vladimir has given me a lot of insight into what kind of weather to expect and how to ask people where the toilet is in a polite manner,” Jeppe laughs, and Vladimir continues “Yes. The topics of our discussions range from the meaning of a single word to the culture that goes with the language. In this way I think the Language Tandem is rewarding on many fronts.” 


Facts
At “Language Tandem at AU” you will be matched up with someone interested in learning your language who speaks the language you want to learn. At your first meeting you agree on where and how often you want to meet, but this can also be adjusted along the way. 

“Language Tandem at AU” is open for all students and staff at Aarhus University and all levels are accepted. You sign up by emailing the project coordinator Sonja Wolf at sonja.wolf@cas.au.dk

The project is based at the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University.

Studerende
319425 / i40