Conversation Partners help students improve English skills

Whether it's a game of 'Jeopardy' or a conversation over a cup of coffee, international students welcome unique opportunities to improve their speaking and language skills.

Answering trivia questions about American phrases, college customs and holiday traditions, just like the classic TV game show with Alex Trebek, is a popular activity during International Coffee Hours hosted twice a month by the Office of International Students and Scholars for all students.

Upcoming gatherings, which include free lunch, are in the First Floor Lounge of Towers Residential Suites from noon to 1 p.m. March 29 and April 12.

The English Language Institute's Conversation Partners program fosters casual cross-cultural chats between international and American students, who meet weekly outside of class to talk about whatever they decide.

Mohammed Al Mahrous of Saudi Arabia meets weekly with sophomore Nicholas Ang of Rochester Hills to improve his language skills for entry-level proficiency requirements for university admission. Enrolled in the ELI through a private Saudi scholarship, Al Mahrous plans to pursue medical studies in Poland.

Seeing what a positive experience his roommates were having as Conversation Partners, Ang, a member of the tennis team, applied to join the program and has been meeting with Al Mahrous since January. They talk about everything from their shared interest in the sciences (Ang is a psychology major planning to attend medical school) to activities and issues around campus.

To be a Conversation Partner, applications are available for ELI students and WSU faculty, staff and students.

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