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

Academic Excellence & Support Services

International Bearchats FAQ's

What do conversation partners do?

You will be paired with a native or fluent American student for a one hour session per week. By meeting with your partner in a non-classroom setting, you will learn new English words and phrases in addition to exploring American culture. This will help you settle into UC’s diverse student body!

Your conversation partner will not “teach you to speak English,” but they may have helpful suggestions or help you understand informal phrases, or “slang.” Your meetings are a safe, judgment-free space to practice and improve your English, and to listen to your partner’s English. Your partner wants to help you succeed. Lastly, conversation partners are a great way to make a new friend with a new perspective!

How does it work?

International students requesting a conversation partner submit an application via email to

Space is limited. The first students to apply will be matched with a conversation partner, as available. These partnerships will last for at least one semester. The Learning Assistance Center will allow you to set your meeting time with your partner at the mandatory meet and greet on January 11th from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

You and your partner can determine conversation topics before you meet each time, or you can come with some questions you may have encountered during your week. No question is silly in these exchanges, and you and your partner will explore a variety of settings on or near campus.

Some American students may also want to learn your language. When you apply, you will be asked whether you would be willing to spend an additional hour each week speaking with them in your native language. This is not necessary to be matched with a partner. It’s just a nice way to help out another UC student.

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 local or campus event, grab some dinner, or just hang around on McMicken Commons.

What if I do not recieve a partner for the semester?

If you were not matched this semester, you are still invited to all open BEARchats events, including field trips and dinners.

When can I apply?

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

Picture of International Students having fun.