The Tandem Experience

Learning through the Tandem experience, students work together independently in 2-3 person groups where each member teaches their own native language and culture to each other. Each tandem group will have one Finnish student and one or two other students whose native language is not Finnish.

Starting level

The following list will show you the starting level in each language that each member should have in order to create a tandem group or pair. The minimum levels are CEFR levels as follows:

  • German-Finnish tandem group, German level A2/B1
  • Russian-Finnish tandem group, Russian level A2/B1
  • English-Finnish tandem group, English level B1
  • French-Finnish tandem group, French level A2/B1
  • Japanese-Finnish tandem group, Japanese level A2/B1

Finnish students pairing up with students of other languages, all starting levels are acceptable.

For students from foreign countries, the Finnish language is not required.

Course descriptions

In the following languages, register for the Tandem experience in Peppi or Tuudo before the term begins. Click on the course codes below to read the course description. This will help you to understand how this course is completed and when it begins.
903041Y Tandem German-Finnish / Interkulturelle Kommunikation Tandem Deutsch-Finnisch
905046Y Tandem Japanese-Finnish
904024Y Tandem French-Finnish

In the following languages, register by using the following codes or emailing the contact teacher. The list of contact teachers is below.
905014Y Tandem Italian-Finnish
904073Y Tandem Russian-Finnish
902062Y Tandem English-Finnish
901017Y Tandem Swedish-Finnish

In the case of any other language, register dy using the following code or contact Jukka Käräjäoja (see below).
900051Y Tandem other language - Finnish

Contact teachers for Tandem

Aims and how to study


  • To have the chance to get to know the target language and culture under the guidance of a native speaker, as well as improve oral communication. In exchange, the native speaker can share information about his/her own culture and way of life.
  • To use both languages equally so as to offer both language speakers practice in the target language.
  • To increase contacts between Finnish and foreign students.
  • To help foreign students adapt to life in Finland and provide the Finnish students with the opportunity to have cross-cultural contacts.

Target group
The course is intended for all the students of the University of Oulu and language levels include all language skills levels, including beginners level.

How to study in the tandem programme
The pairs meet on a regular basis each week to discuss pre-arranged topics. The course content is agreed upon at the beginning of the course together with the tutor, and learning progress reports are made after each meeting by means of a journal. There are meetings with the tutor during the course and at the end.
The course is optional and cannot be used to replace another language course. In one language the maximum amount of credits that you can complete is 4 credits.
2 ECTS requires 54 hours of time and this includes:

  • meetings with the Tandem partner ca. 30 hrs (e.g. 15 times)
  • independent work and preparation ca. 12 hrs
  • writing the journal ca. 6 hrs
  • writing the final report ca. 6 hrs

The amount of hours spent in different tasks can be negotiated with the Tandem tutor. It is also possible to complete Tandem as a 3 or 4 credit course.

What sorts of things can you study in Tandem?
The content of Tandem study is planned together with the partner/group according to both’s interests and learning outcomes. It is good to start planning with thinking about themes for your programme. Popular culture themes have been for example the food culture of the target country, movies and literature, social issues (e.g. education, political system), people’s manners and things that belong to ordinary everyday life and student life.
Besides the cultural themes you should also keep language studying in mind. Language studies can be connected with the above-mentioned themes or separate topics can be planned for practicing in the target language. The topics can be e.g. pronunciation exercises, some grammatical points with oral and written exercises, reading texts together and discussing them, vocabularies of certain fields, speaking exercises of different subjects (e.g. transactions in different places and situations, problem-solving, sharing opinions and argumentation, persuasion, reacting in different situations).

Useful ideas for Tandem-meetings:

  • on Each one teach one -web site of the University of Jyväskylä (Centre for Multilingual Academic Communication)
  • on the Seagull-web site

Grading is on a pass/fail basis. To pass the course, the student must attend meetings with a tutor and partner and complete written tasks (a course plan, journal, final report).

Phases of study

Tandem study has three phases:

Phase 1

  • sign up in Peppi or Tuudo (French ,German, Japanese) or contact the teacher of the target language and inform her/him that you are willing to start tandem.
  • after you have found a partner your task is to set learning outcomes (what do you want to learn) together and make a study plan (see below) for your tandem programme
  • arrange a meeting with your tutor to discuss your plans and how to proceed

Phase 2

  • meet each other 1–2 times a week (on a regular basis, about 2 hours /meeting); total amount of meetings is 14–15 times
  • prepare the meetings in advance
  • study both languages and cultures effectively and equally
  • make notes after each meeting in a diary (see below)
  • arrange a meeting with your tutor if needed

Phase 3

  • all the participants write a final report (see below) in which you evaluate your learning
  • arrange a final meeting with your tutor to discuss the learning outcomes
  • bring the final report to the final meeting

Notice! Contents of different phases may vary according to the tutor.

The Tandem Study Plan, Diary and Report Instructions