Activity Information
Recommended Audience
International Students, Community members (student especially)
Maximum-100 minimum- 50
Length of Time
1 hour to 2 hours
Resources
Refreshments
Number of Facilitators
3 (per 100 numbers of participants)
Source of Activity
Joanne Green, International Hospitality Council
Purpose
Provide new conversation partners with a chance to meet in a group setting

Conversation Partners Program - Get Togethers

  1. Collect applications for Conversation Partners Program from international and native English-speaking students through orientation meetings, flyers, word-of-mouth.
  2. Match students based on language, gender and interest preferences; mail each student information on his/her partner and invite them to a reception (RSVP). We planed the reception for early in the new semester, giving us time to recruit/match a large number of students.
  3. For reception: book room, purchase refreshments, and recruit a few experienced partners to speak.
  4. At the reception, students will sign in, make name-tags, and look for their partner. The program coordinator will then welcome everyone, describe the program in general, and assure that everyone has found his/her partner. Experienced partners speak briefly about strategies that worked for them in their partnership and take questions from new partners. Let partner pairs get acquainted over refreshments.

At the end of the fall semester, we have hosted an “ornament making” reception for partners as a fun way to get together and do something different. Ornaments are used to decorate a tree for a United Way event.

Program Development Timeline: program has existed for many years and was "given" to this agency by Penn State's Office of International Programs when the number of students requesting the program became unmanageable for them. So the program has been pretty well developed for at least 10-15 years. We have made some improvements and modifications of course, but it is basically the same program.

Budget: Part-time coordinator (10-15 hr/week; $8/hr)
Copying, mailing costs, small expenses for receptions--less than $150/year

Advertising: Brochures given to international students upon arrival + welcome speech to incoming students Participation in PSU Volunteer Fair in September Flyers around campus classrooms and dorms; free ads in volunteer columns of newspapers at beginning of each semester Visits to classrooms and student volunteer groups Word of mouth; recommendations from faculty

Lessons: We try to be sure all who sign up realize that they may not be matched to avoid disappointment We try to smooth over any misunderstandings between partners by contacting each individually in rare cases when things don't go well.