The best way to learn and become fluent in Korean is to practice speaking and listening outside of class, not just passively. It can often be difficult to find opportunities to speak in everyday life.
One of the best ways is to find a Native Speaker to practice with you. But where can you find a native Korean speaker who is willing to invest their time to help you learn? What exactly does a language exchange with a tandem partner involve?
What is a tandem partner? How does that work?
In a language exchange with a tandem partner, two people meet to learn each other’s language and practice together. So instead of learning unilaterally, as would be the case with a tutor, they learn together in exchange. In our case, you give German tutoring and receive tutoring in the Korean language in return.
How can you find a tandem partner?
This article will help you in your search for a Korean tandem partner. We have put together three ways to find your Korean tandem partner.
Why only three options?
Because we believe that’s all you need to succeed in your quest.
You will also find tips on how to plan a successful language exchange at the end of the article.
1. personal environment
It can be as simple as knocking on your neighbor’s door. The first way is also the most obvious. Before you consider other options, you can look for a language partner in your personal environment. Ask your relatives, friends and acquaintances.
You may already have Korean friends who live in your city and even if they are not interested in a language exchange, you can ask if they know other people who might be interested. Many Koreans are in German speaking countries to study, work or just to live and anyone who lives in a country for a long time wants to learn the language and needs to practice it.
2. social media and meetups
Facebook groups are one of the best ways to find a tandem partner. There are already groups for Korean language learners with several thousand members dedicated solely to Korean language exchange. All you have to do is search for “Korean Tandem”, join a group and either post something yourself or reply to another member’s post.
Meetups are another great way to meet other people who want to learn your language. Just visit the Meetup page. There you can search for events. Even without logging into the site. You only need to create an account if you have found a suitable event or if you want to create an event yourself because there is no Korean language exchange in your area yet.
Especially in this day and age where virtual events and meetings are becoming the norm, you’re not even limited by your location.
We’ve only recently discovered the HelloTalk app ourselves and haven’t explored it enough, but HelloTalk can connect you directly with native speakers. Unlike traditional voice exchanges where you find your partner on a website and then communicate via Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp, on HelloTalk you can find partners and talk directly through the app.
But that’s not all HelloTalk can do. HelloTalk also works to find people near you, as a translator, and the app has many other features to learn languages (not just Korean). You can learn more about HelloTalk here and in this article you can find the best apps for learning Korean (nothing to do with tandem partners).
Another option that is mainly used for paid tutoring is iTalki. iTalki has been around for a very long time. It is therefore the best established platform. ITalki is especially suitable if you don’t want to teach German in return, but prefer to pay a few euros per hour. Here you can sign up for ITalki (affiliate link) and find a tandem partner or tutor for Korean.
How do you start a successful Korean language exchange?
- First of all, both partners must know what the aim of the language exchange is. At what level and in what way should the languages be practised and should the language exchange take place in the long term. The more precisely you can formulate your goals, the higher the chances of successful tandem sessions in Korean.
- Make fixed appointments and stick to them. Regular practice is not only the key to successful language exchange, but the key to successful language learning in general. The more regularly your language exchange takes place, the greater the success.
- Get ready for the sessions together. You probably meet once or twice a week for an hour or two. The time you and your tandem partner spend learning together is limited. Therefore, just as I prepare for class as a teacher, you should prepare for learning together to get the most out of it.
When looking for a language partner, we recommend starting in person, then taking advantage of social media or Meetup groups, or finding a Korean tandem partner on HelloTalk and ITalki. There are many more ways to find Korean tandems, but the options in this article are so effective that we don’t think you need any more.
More difficult than finding a language partner might be building a successful practice. Therefore, we recommend defining precise goals, agreeing on and keeping fixed appointments and preparing for each meeting. Good luck with your learning and if you have any questions or tips we haven’t covered, we welcome comments.