Academic Excellence & Support ServicesAcademic Excellence & Support ServicesDivision of Student AffairsDepartment of Student ServicesUniversity of CincinnatiLearning Assistance Center

Academic Excellence & Support Services
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Domestic Bearchats FAQ's

What do conversation partners do?

Basically, you get together and talk with an international UC student about everyday life. You may cover topics ranging from American sports to social norms or customs that are new to students from another region or culture. You are not required to “teach English”; just be open-minded and engaged.

How does it work?

Conversation partners submit an application form. Those students selected will then be paired with a UC international student based on their interests and availability. These partnerships will last for at least the remainder of the semester. After undergoing an in-person training and meet-and-greet on January 11 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., conversation partners will then receive their partner’s information and their first meeting date and time. Conversation partners can decide to change their meeting time, but you will primarily meet at the same day and time each week. These meetings take place for one hour, once per week.

Where do we meet?

Each appointment, both you and your partner will check in at the Learning Assistance Center (French Hall, Room 2441). Once you’ve both checked in at the LAC Front Desk, you and your partner can go to any safe, public place you both choose. You can attend a sporting event, go for a walk around campus, or just grab some coffee. Anywhere can be a source of conversation for you and your partner!

What’s the advantage for a native speaker?

Conversation partners gain new insights into their own culture, in addition to helping another student orient themselves in a new country. In addition, Conversation Partners can often use conversation hours to meet service learning or service hour requirements for various organizations. Plus, if you’re learning a new language, you can request to be matched with a native speaker of that language. We even have a “time-trade” option through which partners can meet for two hours. One hour will take place in English; and the other will take place in the foreign language you are seeking to learn. Finally, businesses and graduate programs are seeking students with a global perspective, and participating in BearChats can provide a unique line to your resume when you leave the University.

How do I start?

We match students on a rolling basis, and students may not find a match upon their initial application. If this occurs, our office will notify you of your standing.Once you’ve been selected, you will attend the mandatory training and meet and greet, and then you’re ready to help a fellow UC student explore the university and the city around them!

When can I apply?

Today. The application for Spring 2014 is now open for incoming Freshmen. Applications are due December 15th by 11:59pm. You can download your application here.