Conversation Partners Bowling at Ten Pin Alley


Conversation Partner Program


To provide UNCW ESL students with opportunities to engage in authentic English language conversation, develop international friendships, and increase cross-cultural understanding.


Students enrolled in the English Language Center want to make American friends, practice their English skills, and participate in an American experience.

As a volunteer, you will help international students adjust to life in the US, learn about American culture, and practice their English skills.


  • Learn about other cultures and countries
  • Make new friends
  • Participate in local organized excursions each week at no cost
  • Improve your cross-cultural understanding and intercultural communication skills

Commitments & Expectations

Time Commitment: 3+ hours per week
  • 5 weeks, 8 weeks, or full semester options are available
  • If you are not able to commit to a minimum of 3 hours every week, please sign up at a later time when you are able to do so.
Availability: Flexible
  • Any time outside the ELC academic schedule:
  • ELC Course Schedule:
    • Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 2:50 pm
    • Friday: 9:00 am - 1:50 pm
    • Lunch break, daily: 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Language: English
  • While at times you may learn or practice a bit of the language(s) your partner speaks, the primary language of conversation should be English.
  • No foreign language experience or knowledge needed
Help Your Partner Adjust
  • Moving to a new country can be quite overwhelming at first. Try to check in with your partner every few days, especially right after they arrive, to make sure they are fitting in, meeting friends and roommates, and having their needs met.
  • Talk about U.S. culture, habits, or lifestyle; show them around campus; and answer their questions.

Sign Up Here!

  • Partners are matched based on preferences and interests.
  • Matches are typically made at the beginning of Fall, Spring, and Summer II semesters, but applications are accepted and encouraged on an ongoing basis. At times, new matches are needed during mid-semester.

Suggested Activities

You don't need to have a car or spend much money--or any--to have fun and be a wonderful partner!

Things to Do On Campus/Without a Car
FREE Under $5
  • Meet for coffee
  • Cook a meal together
  • $2 movies at Lumina Theater
  • UNCWeekends hosts off-campus weekend outings (prices vary; transportation provided)
$$ Off-Campus Activities
  • Go to the beach
  • Enjoy Free Resident Day at Airlie Gardens (9:00 am - 4:30 pm) and the Cape Fear Museum (1:00 - 5:00 pm) the first Sunday of each month (UNCW ID or valid state ID with New Hanover County address required for free admission)
  • Visit the downtown art galleries for the Fourth Friday Art Gallery Walk (FREE)
  • Cheap skate night--go roller skating at Jelly Beans for only $3.50, including skate rental, on Mondays, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
  • Defy Gravity Trampoline Park--College Night is Thursday, 5:00 - 8:00 pm, $4 off admission with ID

Don't forget to take advantage of UNCW student discounts while you're out! And remember, even simple tasks like going grocery shopping are fun when you're in a new country and everything is new.