Tandem.MINT – Tandem Language Learning Program

Attention: our website has moved, you can find us here www.rub.de/tandem-mint

News: To offer more tandem partners with English as their native language, we will be cooperating with the Virginia Tech university again this summer semester 2021.

Due to the current corona virus situation the Sprachtandem.MINT cannot take place as usual.
⇒ further information: The Sprachtandem.MINT in the summer semester 2021

The Tandem language learning program Tandem.MINT offers students of STEM disciplines (Natural Sciences and Engineering) an individual and specialized approach of expanding their foreign language skills. Working together with a tandem-partner from a similar field of study, you can test and improve your language proficiency and skills in intercultural communication.
Tandem.MINT has started as a cooperation between the project ELLI and the University Language Centre (ZFA).

© Georg Oligmüller

© Georg Oligmüller


What is Tandem Language Learning about?

When you learn a language in a tandem, you can practice a foreign language, e.g. German, in interaction with a tandem-partner who is a native speaker of your target language or speaks the language on a comparably high level (at least C1) – in return, you support your tandem-partner in learning your native language.
In contrast to a regular language course, it is your decision which skills you would like to improve, what you want to focus on, and which approach and materials you prefer to use. Learning in a tandem is geared towards the individual objectives and capabilities of both tandem partners.

What is special about Tandem.MINT? 

In Tandem.MINT you can practice and expand your foreign language proficiency and skills in intercultural communication.
Since your tandem-partner is also a STEM student it is easier to pursue a specialized focus and work with materials and topics relevant to your studies.
In doing so, you may learn technical terms, practice describing  STEM specific topics and processes or advance your writing skills for specilized texts (e.g. lab reports or papers) in the foreign language. This gives you the opportunity to train your language competence beyond everyday communication by acquiring a technical vocabulary.

How do I benefit from participating?

In the tandem you improve the foreign language with a hands-on approach and in an authentic, social context. This way you become more confident speaking the language in everyday life and in academia. Besides advancing your language skills, you get to know international students from similar fields of study and can enhance your intercultural competence.
The tandem can therefore be useful to prepare you for a (study-related) stay abroad. Moreover, you can practice working together in multilingual and multicultural teams and acquire transferable skills for an increasingly globalized working environment in the sector of engineering and natural sciences.

Currently we are working on establishing a cooperation with international universities, especially with the US. This way we can offer more students the chance to participate in our program. You will also benefit from networking across borders and universities.

What are the prerequisites for participation?

  • enrollment at Ruhr-Universität Bochum as a student in one of the natural sciences, medicine or engineering disciplines
  • proficiency in the target language: at least level B1 (CEFR)
    [for typologically distant native languages (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, Russian): level A2]
  • proficiency in the primary language: native speaker or at least level C1 (CEFR)
  • German or English needs to be either the native / primary language or the target language

How is the program structured?

After the registration is closed, we will try to find a matching tandem-partner for you. As soon as you have your partner’s contact information you get in touch with your tandem-partner.
At the beginning of the semester, we offer an information session where you get to meet your tandem partner and the other tandem participants, you also participate in an introductory session at the University Language Centre (ZFA) (both are currently held on zoom). If needed, you may also register for an individual coaching session in order to develop your personal learning objectives.
Throughout the semester you arrange and plan the individual meetings with your tandem-partner at your convenience. A tandem portfolio provides you with guidelines and suggestions for your tandem sessions.
The exact procedure depends on whether you intend to obtain a participation certificate or credit points. ⇒ further information: Procedure

When does the program start? How do I register?

Tandem.MINT was launched in the summer semester 2018 as a pilot-project and because of its great success will be continued in the summer semester 2021. In the summer semester 2020 we had to adjust to the current circumstances. For this reason, the tandem is now taking place online rather than face-to-face. It runs over the course of one semester.

For the summer semester 2021, please apply until April 4th, 2021 using this application form (pdf).
Please send the application form as pdf-file by email to: tandem-mint@rub.de.
Please note: You need to download the form first in order to complete it digitally.

Can I obtain credit points?

You can choose between a certificate option and a CP option of the program. For the certificate option you will receive a participation certificate at the end of the semester after successfully completing the program by attending regularly. If you want to obtain credit points, it is possible to complete Tandem.MINT as a module (CP option). However, it depends on the regulations specific to your subject, your degree program and/or the decision of the department. further information

Please note: the CP option had to be suspended temporarily due to teaching restrictions because of COVID 19. We are working on a solution to reinstall the CP program as soon as possible.