Week 3 in Belgium. It is time for our students to really meet some locals. For that, this Tuesday, we organized one of our favourite activities, the Tandem.
The real reason I got to meet the CIEE organisation in the first place, was thanks to the Tandem. What a great idea it is! Indeed, it is the best way to meet local francophone students who, just like you, are looking forward to socialising and meeting new people. Basically, it’s like speed dating, but without the pressure of “dating” — in the end, people are just there to make friends and learn either French or English.
They sit at a table with a drink that CIEE offers them (the Duvel is amazing, in case you don’t know what to choose from the Tavernier’s extensive list), and every 5 minutes, someone yells “Guys, CHANGE!”. It is obvious that, at first, all the students are a little shy, but after the second round of “change” everyone feels more comfortable and becomes suddenly a lot more talkative! As time passes by, the conversations deepen and we can understand that students already know who they are going to choose as their favourite partner. Let the exchange begin !
8 p.m — Time is over. Tandem is complete as other people arrive for the second round: The Talking Café.
This part is more relaxed, with no timing or partners involved. With a second drink, CIEE students greet francophone students who slowly fill the second floor of the bar. Affinities are created, contacts are exchanged. As we pass from group to group, students tell us that they are having a lot of fun. Excited with their new friends, after the activity officially ends, most of them go to the main part of the bar and continue their conversations around another Belgian beer.
And that's how our students become friends with local students ! Can’t wait for the next Tandem activity!
(Credits to our intern Rafaela)