What is TANDEM® ?

A tandem for each opportunity

TANDEM® Foundation

Goals and fields of work

TANDEM means:


What is TANDEM® ?

TANDEM is a bicycle designed for two riders both involved in getting forward. We have taken this word into our method of learning by exchanging languages with our motto: "In order to understand each other better I help you to learn and you help me to learn." TANDEM is therefore the bicycle among various language learning approaches - it is cheap, individual and ecological. It is a communicative as well as an intercultural approach as it gives the opportunity to both learners to gain more insight into each other's culture by direct communication.

TANDEM is the most active way of learning for everyone who wants to learn creatively, have fun and get new experience at the same time. There are both types of TANDEM: The one-to-one-TANDEM, a totally autonomous way, and the bi-national TANDEM class which supports an autonomous way of learning.

The TANDEM  schools´ teachers are native speakers and at the beginning of TANDEM they created their own working conditions within non-profit organizations, cultural cooperatives and self employment enterprises. By now, all kinds of enterprises are represented in TANDEM.

For many years there has been an academic advisory to TANDEM. The International TANDEM Conference celebrated regularly, provides the opportunity for an exchange of experiences between teachers and researchers. In this way, it is a professional alternative to those approaches incapable of combining language and culture, learning and reality.

Those schools or organizations using TANDEM form the TANDEM-Network, which is expanding continually. Each school is an entrance to others within the country and abroad.
The function of the TANDEM Foundation is to be a signpost“”, giving direction. TANDEM is an approach not kept within narrow limits.


...more than just language learning!


A TANDEM® for each opportunity?

TANDEM® is a method applicable to all ages, from children to seniors.

Tandem can be used in many ways:

In nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, in vocational training institutions, in youth organizations, in universities and colleges, in teacher training colleges, in adult education, in Trade Union training within companies and immigrant centers.

Tandem works:

In the country of  either of the groups taking part in a bi-national Tandem course,     or  together in a third country, in a cross-border way or on the Internet.

Tandem until now has been used in at least 22 languages:

Albanian, Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, English, French, Galician, German, New Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Spanish, Turk.

Tandem, many goals under one roof:

The universal tandem of languages, the culture exchange oriented tandem, the professional tandem, the multilingual 'Babylonia-Tandem', the antiracist 'Interkultur-Tandem', cross-border Mugaz Gain and e-Tandem on the Internet.

Tandem, as one form of autonomous learning, offers flexibility of content:

conversation, narration, reading, professional skills (phoning, translating, interpreting), leisure time activities, cross-culture differences . . .

In the vocational training we introduce specific Tandem situations.


TANDEM Foundation

In order to improve academic cooperation and ongoing teacher training, most of the tandem users themselves established the Foundation "TANDEM Fundazioa", with its main office located in Donostia/San Sebastián, in the Basque Country. It began functioning on January 1, 1994. Trademark rights, first held by Michael Friedrich, the Cooperative in Madrid "Centro Cultural Hispano Alemán TANDEM" and Jürgen Wolff, were thus taken over by the Foundation. For further information about the tandem method and for those who want to become a member or licensee, the Foundation is to be consulted. It was recognized as a Charity by order number 2698 of the Basque Ministry of Culture on July 11, 1994, as published on page 9013 of the Basque Government Bulletin, and is allowed to accept tax deducible donations.


Goals and fields of work

Its goals are to improve understanding between peoples and promote intercultural exchange by means of pilot courses, documentation and diffusion of materials, teacher training and international project networks, especially in the areas of:

German and other widely used languages: development of self-instruction materials for elementary and intermediate levels and teacher training courses in cooperation with the Goethe Institute; testing of new course methods, especially 'German by Exchange'; distribution of “German as a foreign language” material.

Basque and other minority languages: development of self-instruction materials and consulting for the setting up of self access centers; training for learning techniques and teacher training for 'ikastola's and 'euskaltegi's; training for the use of the data base for cross-border exchange programmes 'Mugaz Gain' between North and South Basque Country - useful also in other border areas.

Training programmes: training for methodology for all needs and levels, from nursery schools to university, introductory course and self access package for tandem users in different settings, e.g. antiracist 'Interkultur-Tandem' and multilingual 'Babylonia-Tandem'; research registry and material bank; offers for language teachers about such topics as news forms of learning, study techniques, memo techniques, reading comprehension, intercultural communication, autonomous learning, multilingualism; language learning by exchange in presence of the partners or via E-mail; support of the "International TANDEM Conference" in collaboration with academic institutions

Network: Provides a contact address for new members and licensees; handles the trademarks and copyrights; development and promotion of quality criteria for tandem intermediation and certifying authority for the tandem consultancy quality seal; serves as a clearinghouse in terms of tandem methodology for everyone being interested.


TANDEM® means

for people who want to study languages in a different way:

the opportunity to meet another person for conversation exchange, either while as taking a language course or independent of one. All of this in a network of language schools practically world-wide which open new paths towards languages, cultures and exchanges.

for people who are already studying in a TANDEM Network school:

ask about additional benefits (in some countries discounts).

Detailed information in the school nearest you.

for people interested in the methodological focus:

* bibliography in cooperation with IFS of Marburg University, FRG

* copying service that covers 70% of published and unpublished material

* a record for the co-coordinating of research in progress about Tandem

* advisory help for end of studies projects and doctorates

* 'Tandem-Neuigkeiten', newsletter in exchange for your own publications

* internships  in Tandem projects

* brief presentations of the method, introductory and in-depth courses, modules on specific themes, to be carried out in your institution

* the possibility of becoming a sponsor member

detailed information: at Tandem Foundation, Donostia/San Sebastián

if you work in TANDEM:

+ all language courses without charge in 'TANDEM® International' (according to space available; travel, room and board not included)

+ the opportunity to work in the network anywhere in the world under local conditions

detailed information: directly in the school in which you are interested

for public and similar entities:

= academic congress 'International Tandem Conference'

= admission to the Foundation Council, among other benefits

= access to all material for individual Tandem or tandem language courses

= 20% discount on all course prices in 'Tandem International' for all employees

= 33% discount on all Foundation training courses

detailed information: in Tandem Foundation, Donostia/San Sebastián

for language schools and similar institutions :

> introductory courses or access to self-study material in terms of organization, finances and marketing.

> licenses for using the TANDEM® trademark and material as well as many other benefits.

> inclusion in our website and their prospectuses distribution 

For detailed information contact Tandem Foundation.


And if what you are looking for is not in this list,

ask at the nearest TANDEM-school,

and if the school doesn't offer what you want,

ask at the TANDEM Foundation!