Our Mission

The English Conversation Circle is an ELL sponsored cross-cultural linguistic exchange student organization. The circle is designed to facilitate mutual language learning, foster inclusion of ELL students in the UVU community, and provide an organic space for UVU students to learn about other cultures and diverse world perspectives.

2 students sitting with each other

In the 3rd or 4th week of fall and spring semesters, we pair our ELL Listening/Speaking students with UVU volunteers at an official get-to-know you meeting. After that, partners commit to meet on their own for at least one hour a week the rest of the semester, excluding holiday breaks and the week before finals (totaling 9-10 hours). Exactly when and where is up to you, but we encourage partners to meet on campus if possible. You can also set up virtual meetings as well. At the end of the semester, we offer a closing activity for each class where partnerships can share their insights and experiences while enjoying ethnic food and music.

What’s in it for volunteers?

This is a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world! You can learn about different cultures while receiving the satisfaction of helping others! It's also a great resume builder. You can request a letter of participation after your service is complete.

What’s in it for ELL students?

You can practice English with native English speakers and learn first-hand about American culture! You can also ask questions and get advice not only about your classes and UVU but also how to navigate life in the U.S.

Can I learn another language?

Volunteers can request to be paired with a partner who speaks a specific language (however, sometimes it’s not always possible). Also, it’s important that the ELL student gets to practice ENGLISH for an hour first, as it is part of their curriculum.

What should I do with my partner?

Just talk! This is an opportunity for ELL students to practice conversational English since many of them may primarily speak their native language at home. Helping them with their assignments is also a beneficial activity.

two students together

Often, the students’ partnership can evolve into a longer-lasting friendship that extends well beyond the expectations of the program. Such was the case for Jeongjun Ahn, a delightful, bright, beginning-level Korean student who was paired with Kelsey Kocherhans, an American volunteer from Utah. Jun is hearing impaired and wears a cochlear implant that allows him to hear more English than he would otherwise, but still poses a bit of a challenge. Kelsey was assigned to be his partner because she had experience with ASL, plans to major in Speech Pathology, and had already developed an interest in K-pop along with the Korean culture and language. With her winning personality and background, Kelsey was well equipped to help Jun improve his English speech and pronunciation. When the summer ended, the two decided to remain partners for fall and spring semesters, and continued to meet the next academic year, as well. Besides helping each other with English and Korean, they frequently do other activities together such as hiking, rock climbing, attending Korean festivals and making Korean food at home. They have developed such a kinship with one another, people often tell them they act like brother and sister. Kelsey says she has “loved being friends with Jun” and that she feels “so blessed and happy” that they met.