5 Reasons Why a German Language Exchange Partner is So Hard to Find

A German Language Exchange Partner is hard to find. One of the most common complaints of German learners is that it is so hard to get to know Germans to practice with. And they are right.

But let’s be honest: would you want to be abused for language practice? Read on to find out how to get in touch with Germans. Would you like to talk to someone that staggers around for seconds until s/he finds the right word or phrase or constantly makes mistakes that require a lot of concentration from you?

Don’t mistake this as a blame on your language skills. We all start learning German or any new language like this. And you have my absolute compassion and support. I guess you understand what I am aiming at.

Search for Purpose

Tandem Partner Language Exchange

If your main aim was just to get to know someone with whom you could exchange ideas, views, emotions and experiences, then you’d look for someone speaking English. Now many language learning experts recommend finding a German tandem* partner to practice with. I did that, too before and if you like it, go for it. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with it.

But I often find that learners either don’t have the time nor the desire to meet someone just for this purpose. And also half of the time you would be speaking in your mother tongue and that time would be lost for you (while the other half is lost to the other person). There are a few other flaws that I would like you to consider:

Tandems are Boring

Conversation needs common interests. Simply wanting to learn a language is too little exciting to hold a relationship for a longer period of time.

Even if you pick some topics to discuss with limited conversational skills it would still be artificial and feel unnatural. I once had a Turkish-German tandem but she was only interested in Turkish soap operas, tennis and complaining about the bad weather in Germany. And I simply wasn’t too much into sports.

For a tandem to be efficient, you would have to meet at least 2 to 3 times a week. Imagine meeting someone you don’t share similar interests with that often.

Find a German tandem partner

die Wippe – the see-saw / Image by Pixabay

Using Tandem Partners Is Not for Free

Then there is the time and money you will need as you would have to meet somewhere and most likely spend half an hour going there and another half hour going back. So assuming you meet for about an hour – plus 15 minutes before and after the meeting, so you won’t have to end the conversation abruptly – your meeting with your German Language Exchange Partner would take you 2.5 hours.

Assuming you drink two coffees during this time, you’d spend 6 Euro + 5 Euro for the metro tickets. Suppose you would meet in a café halfway, that would make up to 100 EUR monthly if you met 2-3 times a week as recommended before.

If you meet online, of course, you won’t have to calculate the cost for your internet provider. I’m not THAT German.

Your German Language Exchange Partner Needs to Ne a Good Match

If your foreign language skills are not at the same level, your tandem is doomed to bore the more skilled one of you very quickly while making the slower one feel bad. Also what level do you think you need to be to be able to have a conversation? Or are you going to (ab)use your tandem as a teacher? Is that his or her special skill then?

Having a bad teacher is worse than having none, unless you try to learn all by yourself without really knowing how. The result of that can be seen in this video.

From B1 on, you will be able to have slow but more interesting conversations. Anything below that is a strain for all who take part in it IF you don’t prepare your meeting with your German Language Exchange Partner properly.

If you want to learn how to do a German Language Exchange from A-Z and benefit from it, you must check out our Tandem Training – “Having a successful language exchange”. You can preview it here.

Tandems Require a Lot of Discipline

Not only needs the speaking time to be under control but also switching between languages has to be kept to a minimum. It can and should never be totally avoided as it is natural to use one’s own language as a helper in times of need.

And after an exhausting workday, keeping your appointment with a tandem is much more difficult than with a professional that charges you for his or her time. Also, the professional has a better ear for what needs to be worked on and should have the appropriate material for you at hand to work it out.

So What Are the Alternatives, Then?

We have a saying in Germany and I can only state its validity when it comes down to German learning: Was nichts kostet ist nichts wert. If it’s free, it isn’t any good.

Pay someone to listen to your still broken German and make them tell you when you make a mistake. This way you shall become aware of things you use wrongly repeatedly and look them up later on.

Don’t worry, you wouldn’t have to pay 30 EUR or more for someone professional. There are platforms where people are giving away their time for 12 EUR or even less.

These might not be the most experienced ones but they might be motivated to become one of these. And they are interested in improving their skills as teachers. But at least you wouldn’t have to talk English for half of the time making one lesson with the paid folks twice as valuable as a tandem session.

And remember the costs for the drinks. That’s 8 EUR alone, not counting the trip costs. Also these sessions could take place via Skype and you would also save the commute time. On the next page you will find several links that will help you to find a practice partner.

UPDATE: Especially when you are a beginner, you will not need more than 15-20 minutes of speaking from your side. So you should try to arrange shorter meetings with your paid or your German language exchange partner. That is not only way more efficient and costs a lot less in case you choose the paid option but also makes and keeps the meetings more interesting.

Many professional tutors might not be keen on just spending 15 mins per day with you but don’t give up. Plus you don’t need the best tutor in the world for this. Anyone willing to talk and correct your German every now and then might do, especially when you tell them to get our Tandem Training.

Where do I find a German language exchange partner?

We’ll recommend a few places in our Tandem Training but below I’ve put together a more extensive list of interesting language exchange platforms. Feel free to try them all and to let us know about your experience with them. As the internet is a fast pace place, some platforms might already be dead by the time you read this. Inform us about that too please. Not all of these are free.




Conversation Exchange

Toytown Germany

My Language Exchange

Erste Nachhilfe


Tandembörse of the Humboldt University

BerlinSprach- und Kulturbörse of the Technical University

Berlin Zems of the Technical University Berlin

That should do for the beginning. You might also look for a “cheap” [anything from 5-20 EUR is cheap] teacher on these pages:

iTalki.com (affiliate link)



Easy Languages.com

Online German Tutor



Whether you’ll practice speaking German with a German language exchange partner or without one, I wish you success and that you find a way to practice and improve your German quickly and satisfyingly. If you’d like to know our thoughts on the best ways to learn German, you can see that here.


Here are some questions language learners ask about finding German language exchange partners to practice with.

What is a Tandem partner?

A Tandem partner is someone with whom you can exchange language skills in a mutual learning arrangement. Typically, it involves two people, each wanting to learn the other’s native language. For instance, if you want to learn German, your Tandem partner might be a native German speaker wanting to learn your native language.

How do I find a German Tandem partner?

To find a German Tandem partner, you can explore language exchange platforms, language schools, or local community events. Online platforms like Tandem, HelloTalk, or language exchange meetups offer opportunities to connect with people who speak your target language, in this case native German speakers who are interested in language exchange.

How can a German language partner help me?

A German language partner can assist you in various ways. They provide a chance to practice speaking with a native German speaker, helping improve your German pronunciation. Additionally, through cultural exchange, you can gain insights into German culture and customs. This immersive experience enhances your ability to learn German more authentically.

Why is the German language difficult?

The difficulty in learning German varies for different learners, but common challenges include its relatively complex grammar rules, diverse vocabulary, and distinctive word order.

What is the hardest part about learning German?

The hardest part about learning German for many is often mastering the grammatical intricacies, including cases, genders, and verb conjugations. Pronunciation, with its nuanced sounds, can also be challenging. However, regular practice with native German speakers can significantly aid in overcoming these hurdles and help learners speak German more confidently.

Summing Up: 5 Reasons Why a German Language Exchange Partner is So Hard to Find

So, we have outlined some common hurdles in the pursuit of practicing your German with native speakers as your language exchange partners, such as mismatched interests and the hidden costs of traditional tandems. Finding a professional tutor instead seems to be a good idea for creating a safe space for language learners. With an emphasis on shorter, efficient sessions, we have listed a comprehensive list of language exchange platforms, ensuring learners connect with partners who understand the nuances of their native language.

Whether you opt for a paid tutor or decide to explore language exchange platforms, try to find a method that fosters a safe space for diverse language exploration and effective German language practice. Learn German with joy and make sure every minute of learning a new language is worth the time and effort.