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Conversation Circles

Summer 2022 Conversation Circles Begin June 6th, 2022!

Conversation Circles are designed to create connections among international students and scholars at U-M, beat the isolation, practice English, and have fun! Each circle consists of five 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. 

Summer 2022 Circles run for eight weeks: June 6th-July 31st, 2022

Facilitator registration for Summer 2022 NOW OPEN!

Participant registration for Summer 2022 begins May 31st!


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 five 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 currently meet online, but in the past, have met at coffee shops or restaurants, explored Ann Arbor together, played games or sports together, or simply sat 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.