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Conversation Circles

Fall 2020 Conversation Circles will be offered ONLINE

Virtual Conversation Circles are designed to create connections among international students and scholars at U-M, beat the isolation, and boost morale during this difficult time. Each circle consists of six participants and is led by a facilitator, a highly fluent English language speaker. Virtual Conversation Circles meet via an online platform which is convenient and available to all participants in a given circle to talk about any topic of interest, play games, and share pictures and videos. 

Fall 2020 Circles run for ten weeks: September 28 - December 6
Facilitator registration: September 8 - September 17
Participant registration: September 21 - October 4

 

What are Conversation Circles?
Conversation Circles are a volunteer program sponsored by the English Language Institute (ELI) which was started more than thirty years ago to promote intercultural exchange and to provide international students and scholars at U-M with opportunities to practice English in an informal, casual setting. In each Conversation Circle, a small group of non-native speakers of English (up to 6 people) are paired with a highly fluent English-speaking volunteer facilitator for a weekly hour-long conversation.

How are the circles organized?
Participants browse the list of conversation circles, and can then choose to join the circle with the most convenient meeting time. Circles often meet at coffee shops or restaurants, explore Ann Arbor together, play games or sports together, or simply sit outside for a casual chat.

How can participating in a conversation circle benefit me?

  • For international students and scholars at UM, participating in a Conversation Circle provides a great chance to practice English, learn about Ann Arbor, and feel more confident and fluent when speaking in social situations with all types of English speakers, including native speakers. The emphasis is on day-to-day, informal communication (including slang and idioms), and becoming comfortable not just with English, but with UM and US life in general.
  • For facilitators, the program is a great way to meet interesting people from around the world, gain intercultural experience, explore language-learning issues, learn more about English, and have some fun. It is also a form of service which benefits the entire U-M community by helping international students more fully participate in the life of the University and contributing to a positive campus climate which is welcoming to all.