Campus Conversation Partners is a program sponsored by ESL Programs that pairs students, scholars, and staff who use English as an additional language (EAL) with University faculty and staff who are proficient in English for one-on-one, informal conversation in English.

The program promotes and encourages cultural awareness and understanding, helps international students understand and acclimate to U.S. culture, and provides both participants the opportunity to see the world from another perspective and create a rewarding new friendship.

Who Can Participate?

  • English-speaking faculty/staff partners: Any faculty or staff at the University of Iowa may apply for this program. If you are a student, you must be employed by the university in some way in order to participate.
  • EAL partners: Any students, faculty, or staff who want to practice their English may apply for this program.

* We cannot accommodate any applicants who are not employed by or studying at the University of Iowa. If you are a community member interested in conversation practice, please email us for alternative programs.

How It Works:

  • At the beginning of the semester, a mass email is sent asking for applicants, and the application is open for about two weeks, then closes.
  • Within the application, all participants will use a link to access an online orientation explaining the program. Applicants must complete the orientation and participant agreement at the end of the application in order to be matched with a partner.
  • After completing orientation, participants are eligible to be matched. The CCP coordinators will match partners according to application responses.
  • After you have been matched, you will receive an email with your partner’s information. You should contact each other soon after that to set up your initial meeting.
  • If at any point, a participant has concerns about the program or their partner, they should contact ESL Programs.
  • Please click on the link below to access the application.

Note: Please do not specify to be partnered with someone from a specific country or language. We are unable to meet these requests.

The application for spring 2023 is open.  Click here to complete the application.  

Resources

Responses from the UI Community

"Your program has allowed me to make two new friends, Eri AND his wife, and has given me an opportunity to be of service in more than just English conversation practice. From my perspective, this is a great program that allows relationships to grow along with proficiency in the English language." — Patricia McNichol, Research Assistant

"Just wanted to say thanks to this program.  Since the time I joined CCP program, my partner, Mike (who was a staff member, now is retired), and I have been meeting almost every week in the past 10 years. We got to know each other’s family and hobbies. ...That’s 10 years of friendship." —Changhui. student

"From my perspective, this has been a most rewarding program for me. My partner is a delightful person and I have learned a lot about the Chinese culture from him. It has also given me a better perspective on how other cultures may view Americans." —Wayne Abbott, Director of Engineering Services

"We have truly enjoyed taking time out of our day to meet for lunch and share our experiences and learn from each other." —Vilma Rosauer, Project Assistant

"Last semester, I had such, such a great experience with my conversation partner. We became life-long friends." —Shayna, graduate student

"The conversation partner program has been nothing short of a complete joy. While the mutual exchange of cultural information is valuable to any individual, I recommend the program because of the lifelong friendship it offered me." —Patrick, graduate student