Language and Culture Exchange Scheme

The University of Surrey offers all students and staff the opportunity to learn and practise another language through the Language and Culture Exchange Scheme (LACES).

What is LACES?

LACES is part of the University’s International Strategy “to internationalise the educational, cultural and social experience of all students”. It is a “tandem” network, where you can find a language partner who speaks the language you want to learn or improve. In return you can help them practise your first language. You will have the benefit of speaking your chosen language with a native speaker, and at the same time finding out all about their culture. Speaking another language enhances your future employment prospects, and is fun too.

You can join LACES at any time during your studies or employment at the University. It does not matter which department you are in and the Scheme is open to both undergraduates and postgraduates, with a separate network for staff. You can choose to learn or improve any language at any level, but remember that you may not be able to find a LACES partner in the language of your choice.

How do I join LACES?

Students can join LACES online

  • You will need your Surrey e-mail address and you can set your own password
  • Applications from other e-mail addresses will not be accepted as this scheme is for registered University of Surrey students and staff only
  • Once your application has been accepted, you should join two groups – one for the language you are offering (you must be a native speaker) and one for the language you want to learn
  • On the group pages you will be able to see who is offering the language you would like to learn or teach. You can send them a message using the network message service and, if you both agree, arrange to meet up whenever you like. You might even decide to form a small LACES group of people who would like to learn the same two languages
  • On the group pages you will find links to online language learning materials and suggestions for activities you and your LACES partner can try together
  • If you would like to meet LACES learners socially, we will also arrange social evenings. These will be publicised on the LACES network, so remember to visit it to check for announcements.

Personal safety

We want you to feel safe and comfortable when you meet up with a LACES partner for the first time, so follow the advice below:

  • Meet in the daytime in a public place such as the University Library, the Students’ Union or a coffee shop
  • Consider taking a friend with you – you might form a LACES group if your friend wants to learn a language too
  • Don’t feel obliged to give or ask for a home or university accommodation address and be careful about sharing personal telephone numbers.