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Conversation Partners

The Conversation Partners program is a free program that coordinates language exchange between ELP students and other international members of the Penn community with domestic English-speaking Penn students, staff, or faculty over the course of an academic semester.  The program provides the opportunity for participants to practice their foreign language skills, while engaging in cross-cultural exchange.

The program matches participants on language preferences. Once matched, participants are responsible for arranging meetings and for all correspondences between themselves.  Participants are given the flexibility to meet as frequently as they wish; however, participants are asked to commit to a minimum of one hour per week. We are asking participants their preferences regarding meeting in person or virtually. We will make matches accordingly.

How To Apply

The priority deadline for the Fall 2023 semester is September 8th. You will receive an e-mail notifying whether or not you are successfully paired by September 12th.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after that.  If you are matched, you will receive orientation information and your partner's contact information.

If you are a student or staff member who would like to practice English, apply here.

If you are an English speaking student or staff member, who would like to practice another language, apply here.


Frequently Asked Questions

What if I cannot contact my partner or wish to change partners?
If after 48 hours you fail to hear from your assigned partner or are for any reason dissatisfied with the match, let us know and we will try our best to reassign you.  Note however that partner availability is limited, so we encourage you to try to make the match successful.

How often should I meet with my partner?
Participants should meet for a minimum of one hour per week.

Which languages are available?
The most popular languages are Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, but as language availability is based on student participation, we cannot guarantee partner availability for any particular language.  It should be noted that the ELP brings in students from around the world who represent many languages.  All interested in practicing a foreign language are encouraged to apply.

I am a Penn student, but I wish to practice English with a native English speaker. May I participate in this program?
Yes! Please fill out the ELP student application instead of the Penn Staff/Student application. Please keep in mind that priority will go to our ELP students, but we will still do our best to find you a match.

How do I make the most out of the Conversation Partners Program?
Participants will receive information on conducting successful language exchange. Participants may also reference the weekly newsletter which will feature tips on making the most out of the language exchange experience.

The semester has ended. What next?
Toward the end of the semester, participants will receive an email asking if they wish to continue with the program.  Participants may elect to continue with their same partner or they may request to be paired with a new partner.

For more information about the Conversation Partners program, please contact Jessica at