Student Life

students in a conversation circle

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 native-English-speaking volunteer for a weekly hour-long conversation.


For international students and visiting scholars at U-M, participating in a Conversation Circle provides a great chance to practice English, learn about Ann Arbor, meet native English speakers, and feel more confident and fluent when speaking in social situations. The emphasis is on day-to-day, informal communication (including slang and idioms), and becoming comfortable not just with English, but with life at U-M, in Ann Arbor, and in the U.S.

·      Participants must be current U-M students, visiting scholars, faculty, staff, or post-docs.

·      Participants must have their own U-M uniqname in order to sign up.


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: It helps international students more fully participate in the life of the University and contributes to an inclusive campus climate which is welcoming to all.

·      All current U-M undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff are welcome to facilitate a conversation circle.

·      Facilitators must have their own U-M uniqname in order to register.

To learn more about the program, check out  the Conversation Cirlces website.