Conversation Partner Program
The Conversation Partner program is a collaborative initiative arranged by faculty in the English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) Program and the International Student Services, Residential Life and Student Development offices. The goal is to provide an environment for ESOL students to practice and develop their speaking skills; and to introduce students interested in peer leader positions to new cultures and experiences.
Students in the ESOL program are paired with students taking the Peer Advising Skills Seminar class. The program begins in January and lasts for the first 8 weeks of the spring semester.
The staff plans a dinner where the conversation partners are introduced. Partners are asked to meet for a minimum of 1.5 hours each week and practice conversational English. It is a great opportunity for language development and cultural exchange.
To provide additional opportunities for bonding and conversation, a late night bowling excursion and joint class are scheduled for the group. These activities are mandatory for all students who participate in the program.
Here is what students had to say about their Conversation Partner experience:
Students from the COLL 104 Peer Advising course
- “During the past eight weeks my listening skills, communication skills, and my knowledge of the world have improved vastly. This is a program I would do again and encourage others to do.”
- “Between class discussions and lessons I learned from my new friend, I feel stronger as a person and more ready to step up and be a leader for others.”
Students in the ESOL program
- “My conversation partner taught me about American culture and encouraged me to try new foods and activities. I shared Korean culture with her.”
- “This program gave me the chance to meet other people and make new friends. I wish we had the opportunity to meet more frequently.”
International Coffee Hour
International Coffee Hour is an informal gathering in which Columbia College students, staff, and faculty meet monthly for informal conversation, primarily about cultural topics.
International Club is open to all interested students at Columbia College. Through cultural, educational, and social activities, the club promotes understanding and appreciation of different cultures. Meetings are held weekly.
Page Turners ESOL Book Club
Page Turners ESOL Book Club is a popular component of the course, Written Communication Skills. Facilitated by graduate students in Education, it is a chance for ESOL students to discuss books of their choice with peers for eight weeks every semester. While the goal of the club is to help students develop a relationship with reading that goes beyond the academic framework, it is also an excellent opportunity to practice English in a comfortable and fun environment.
Student Activities and Trips
The ESOL program plans an assortment of cultural enrichment activities and outings each semester. Typical activities include movies, sports, and weekend trips to nearby locations.