International Tandem Service
Millions of people around the world want to learn a new language because they may want or need to live, learn and work in another country.
At its.bluepages.de there are professionals with experience. They want to help other people so that the linguistic and cultural integration in foreign countries is made easier. This is achieved through a combination of known methods and the inclusion of globally available inexpensive technology.
The best results are achieved with people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds when they can connect with people with similar professions or career aspirations. We support and advise on how this can be achieved at the lowest possible cost.
its.bluepages.de – The project idea
The tandem method of language learning is based on mutual language exchange, where ideally each learner is a native speaker of the language the other person wants to learn. Many language schools and universities around the world have been using this approach for years to promote language competency and intercultural skills among their students and staff.
From an intermediate level, foreign languages are best learned by talking to people with similar backgrounds. The technical languages of the various professions and courses of study are learned through technical conversations with native speakers. Thanks to the Internet, conversations via video conferencing are possible almost anywhere. Video conferencing platforms are free or very inexpensive. The tandem approach of the educational institutions described, however, assumes the ideal case with symmetrical needs, in which tandem partners contribute roughly equally and benefit equally from the exchange.
The reality is often different and the need for language support with intercultural aspects is not balanced. For example, a purchasing manager and a quality manager need to be optimally prepared for new business contacts on business trips to Asia, Africa and South America. It is advisable to acquire and deal with the foreign technical language and cultural customs of the countries to be visited at short notice in order to create the best possible impression and to correctly assess reactions in conversations. How to react to invitations where you want to avoid offered food and drinks without offending the host? How to avoid putting one’s foot in one’s mouth because other cultures do not like the direct manner of Central Europeans and interpret it as rudeness or arrogance.
In videoconferences, one could prepare with colleagues from the culture to be visited, if one could simply get to know them and reward them with something in return. The quid pro quo could be a technical discussion in the colleague’s desired language or an honorarium, or a combination of both. The important thing is to strike a balance so that the tandem is a perceived win-win for both parties.
Staying with the example of the purchasing manager and the quality manager, professional colleagues from foreign cultural and linguistic areas who are interested in German customs could be offered. Possibly one plans to emigrate to Germany or to work there and perhaps one is already content, if one can lead few hours technical conversation with German specialists. Because of the expected imbalance in mutual support, Germans offer a fee for language and intercultural consulting, which is paid in installments.
Such solutions are feasible in the short term if existing language learning platforms with 1:1 teaching are included in the acquisition of intercultural and technical language know-how in order to handle fees in a fiscally correct and cross-border manner. This is true even if the partners do not yet know each other personally and work together across countries. If a tandem has found each other via the Internet, the symmetrical part, i.e. the part that is compensated with counter-performance, runs via ZOOM, WebEx, Skype and other self-selected video platforms. The part that cannot be compensated is honored via a platform such as Preply, iTalki or Verbling by booking hourly quotas there for the previously agreed consulting.
If the basis of trust is very high, the employer of the purchasing manager and the quality manager could also make direct payments for the linguistic and intercultural training of his employees in order to save the mediation through Preply & Co.
Implementation by bluepages gmbh
A placement platform is implemented under the URL its.bluepages.de – its stands for International Tandem Service. There, all people interested in foreign languages who are willing to participate in asymmetric tandems and show their competences in language, culture and professional discussions or presentations in a video interview with a bluepages employee present themselves. Participants either present themselves via elevator pitch in a video (details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qikGj_ly7LY ) or they choose a question and answer interview format, which is made available on YouTube. For this, they receive the questions from the interviewer in their native language so that they can briefly and succinctly explain their competencies in their job, training or studies. They state their goals that they would like to achieve in the tandems. In addition, they state their fee in case the tandem is asymmetrical and a financial compensation is due.
The bluepages gmbh does not charge any fees for the mediation if the copyrights for the videos are transferred to it free of charge and it can achieve advertising revenue with it. Those who do not wish to transfer their rights to the videos pay a monthly fee so that the tandem offer is published at its.bluepages.de. The difference to the e-learning platforms of the type Preply, iTalki and Verbling is that one does not forbid the announcement of contact information in the video and can describe possible consideration in the tandem. It is also conceivable that companies use the platform to check in tandem partnerships whether someone could be recruited as an employee.
bluepages gmbh could participate in a startup in Cameroon, because there are many well-educated people there who speak English and French as their mother tongue at the same time. Interesting for the planned startup is that there are about 240 000 German-learning people in Cameroon. Source: https://www.goethe.de/resources/files/pdf204/bro_deutsch-als-fremdsprache-weltweit.-datenerhebung-2020.pdf
A prerequisite for an engagement in Cameroon is a network of competent and trustworthy partners to whom the start-up capital can be entrusted.
Possible partners in Germany can be found in government agencies or business organizations if they are interested in economic and cultural exchange. These include national ministries for economic and cultural cooperation and institutes that receive funding from them. Educational institutions such as Goethe Institutes, universities, chambers of crafts and chambers of industry and commerce could be among the startup’s sponsors.