Social and Cultural Activities

Photo of ELP students exploring Philadelphia

Studying abroad is much more than being in a classroom—it allows you to experience new cultures, new cities, and new ways of life. At Penn ELP, we help you make the most of studying at an Ivy League university, living in a vibrant city, and meeting peers from around the world. Cultural activities and social trips organized by the ELP are free for ELP students.

Cultural activities

We organize activities to help you learn more about life in the US and to practice your language skills. Activities on campus include attending guest lectures, film viewings, musical performances, and culture hour events. Activities in Philadelphia include participating in ice skating parties, visiting pop-up gardens or art installations, and touring the many, diverse museums the city has to offer. 

Social trips

We organize bus trips throughout the year. Along with your new international friends, you will visit destinations such as New York City, the Amish countryside, Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC, Atlantic Ocean beaches, amusement parks, and one of the biggest shopping malls in the US.

Student center

At the ELP, the Student Center is a friendly, open space for you to relax, enjoy free coffee and tea, meet new friends, and practice your English. The Student Center is staffed by local Penn students, so you can get tips on where to go and what to check out at Penn and around Philadelphia. The Student Center staff also send out a weekly newsletter that includes announcements about what is happening at the ELP, on campus, and in Philadelphia.  

Conversation Partners Program

In January and September, you can request to be matched with a Penn student who is studying your native language. Once matched, you and your partner will participate in a cultural and language exchange. In many cases, long-lasting friendships have developed because of the Conversation Partners program!

Volunteer opportunities, clubs, and student organizations

You can participate in volunteer activities organized by Penn ELP that give you the opportunity to interact with native speakers. The ELP partners with local public service organizations such as the Penn Volunteers in Public Service (VIPS), Civic House, and Serve Philadelphia in these activities. During the academic year, you can also join some of Penn’s many clubs and organizations.