English Conversation Partner Guidelines

Following is the guidelines for English Conversation Partners.

Go to English Conversation Partner Application if you would like to volunteer.


English Conversation Partners…

Meet with an international student or scholar one time per week for 1-2 hours to practice conversational English for two months.  The focus of these times is to allow them to practice their speaking and listening with an American friend (often times students may be very good at reading in English, but struggling with speaking/listening).  It is also an opportunity for them to ask questions about American culture that they may be wondering about.

You don’t have to be a grammar master or English major to do this.  The emphasis is on spoken English and doesn’t require much language explanations on your part.  You may need to slow down how fast you speak, or ask the student to repeat themselves if you don’t understand, but overall your conversation should be more fun and interesting than challenging.

We will match you with an international student/scholar and provide you with their contact information.  Please contact them and arrange a place and time to meet.  We ask that you meet on the university campus or our International Baptist Centre for the first time.  After that, you can meet at a location you both determine together.


International Ministries (IM) respects the individuality, dignity and culture of each international student.  As a volunteer with IM, we require that you do the same.  Do not use this conversation time as an opportunity for you to force your opinions on your partner.  Be careful not to take the attitude that the US way is the best way or the only way.

IM and its volunteers will not require anything in exchange for our services: it is offered freely and without obligation.

Please plan to meet with your partner for at least two months.  Of course, if you would like to meet longer than that you are welcome to!  If extenuating circumstances arise and you need to cut short your commitment time, please let the student and our staff know.

During the Conversation

Be prepared to ask your partner general questions about life as a student, life in Hawaii, and life in their home country. Be a good listener, and be careful not to express criticism or disapproval of their culture.  Be humble and interested.  If you are a Christian, feel free to share about your beliefs in a respectful way; if they are interested you can certainly discuss it more.