Tandem Language Exchange Coordinator – Foreign Language Centre, University of Exeter

University of Exeter Internship, UoE Internship, SCP, SBP, GBP, A2I

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

As one of two intern co-ordinators for the Tandem Language Exchange initiative, run by the Foreign Language Centre, my role was to market and publicise the scheme to students across the university. It was a scheme to encourage students to pair up with another student that was a native speaker or high level learner of the language they wanted to learn. These tandem partnerships consisted of two or more individuals who would essentially share their language skills through informal conversation classes, most often a chat over coffee! This language exchange enabled students with an interest in learning languages to perfect a language they currently studied, or simply to brush up on a language not yet studied for future travel abroad for instance.

Additionally, we organised and ran events to promote the initiative and to encourage the meeting of native speakers and learners. Our largest event was the Tandem Language Scheme Intro Event which we hosted in the Long Lounge Cafe, Devonshire House. We set up a dozen tables each with a different flag for the language of the country it represented: French, Arabic, Japanese, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Polish… the possibilities were endless. We had 50-60 excited language learners and native speakers that turned up, eager to tuck into the complimentary continental buffet we’d laid on for them in the small ticket price of £3, before dispersing naturally to mingle with students of different nationalities and year groups within the community. It was a great way to see the home, erasmus and international student body come together as one under a shared ‘love of languages’ umbrella. We’d decorated the venue with large flags, and to end the evening’s event we had guest performances of salsa, cha cha and tango from the Exeter University Dancesport Society.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

A personal accomplishment was the confidence the programme gave me to network and to foster partnerships with the Erasmus society and other language societies so that there was a shared publicity drive for the scheme across the board of language related societies. I was instrumental in setting up and running intro conversation classes in partnership with the Erasmus society, for the first 6 weeks of term in order to facilitate a meeting opportunity for language learners and native speakers at the start of the year when the students were keen to find a tandem partner for the duration.

The scheme gave me the opportunity to further my previous work experience and time as General Secretary for another university society, and to focus on publicity, marketing, networking and co-ordinating a large scheme: over 500 members liked the facebook group.