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ELI Conversation Circles

Summer 2024 Conversation Circles run June 3 - July 28

Facilitator sign-up is now OPEN

Participant registration opens May 28

What are Conversation Circles?
For over 30 years, Conversation Circles have been providing international students and scholars at U-M with informal English practice and insights into US culture in a relaxed, casual setting. In each Conversation Circle, a small group of non-native speakers of English (up to five people) are paired with a highly fluent English-speaking volunteer facilitator for weekly hour-long conversations. Conversation Circles promote cultural exchange and help build more globalized, welcoming campus community. 

How are the circles organized?
Participants browse the list of conversation circles, and can then choose to join the circle with the most convenient meeting time. Circles can meet in-person or online. In-person circles can meet at coffee shops or restaurants. Circles have explored Ann Arbor together, played games or sports together, or simply sat somewhere quiet for a casual chat.

How can participating in a conversation circle benefit me?

  • For participants:¬†Joining a Conversation Circle provides international students and scholars with a great chance to practice English, learn about Ann Arbor, and feel more confident and fluent when speaking in social situations with all types of English speakers, including native speakers. The emphasis is on day-to-day, informal communication (including slang and idioms), and becoming comfortable not just with English, but with UM and US life in general.
  • For facilitators: Leading a circle is a great way to meet interesting people from around the world, gain intercultural experience, explore language-learning issues, learn more about English, and have some fun. It is also a form of service which benefits the entire U-M community by helping international students more fully participate in the life of the University and contributing to a positive campus climate which is welcoming to all.