The main aim of the teaching project described here was to provide a student-centred approach to improving German language skills by using email as a means of communication with German native speakers. This aim was to be achieved by using an email tandem approach – described in this article - which is a form of autonomous learning where the focus is on learning through authentic communication with a native speaker. The email tandem project was bilateral in that Macquarie students of German corresponded with German university students of English. The German email partners wrote in English whereas the Macquarie students wrote in German. The students corrected and commented on their partner’s writing and a bulletin board, which was monitored by the project leader throughout the duration of the project, provided all participating students with a forum for discussion.