Announcements News

September 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Conversation Partners Matches OPIE Students and American Students

By Tetyana Dovbnya
OPIE and International Advisor for the College of Arts & Sciences

The Ohio Program of Intensive English Conversation Partners Program provides opportunities for OPIE students to meet one-on-one with American students to facilitate their language learning and introduce them to American culture. In exchange, American students also learn about OPIE student’s culture, country, and language. During the last three matching sessions, 24 OPIE students were matched with 22 American Ohio University students.

Tanya Dovbnya

Tanya Dovbnya

Students participating in the program this semester shared their impressions and ideas about being a part of this program. Almir de Paula, OPIE student from Brazil, said his goal of participation in the program is to improve his speaking skills and learn more about American culture from a peer. His conversation partner from the United States, Maria Witmer, would like to enhance her understanding of other cultures through new acquaintances, and see other perspectives.

Another conversation group, Arwa Almutairi from Saudi Arabia and Kevin Brock concentrate more on improving their English and Arabic languages skills respectively, as well as making new friends who come from the cultures in which they take a deep interest.

From the very first meeting, the conversation partners were able to learn some interesting facts about each other. For example, de Paula learned that his partner, Witmer, has been to many places and adores wild nature. In turn, she was excited to hear his plans for his graduate studies, and about his desire to visit British Columbia. The two of them would like to do a lot of social things together, for example, watching American sports. Almutairi and Brock would like to participate in some group discussions happening in Baker Center and Alden Library, and they hope to visit a park together. What unites all conversation partners is their strive to learn more about things they have little background about at the moment.

Essentially, OPIE Conversation Partners Program promotes cross-cultural understanding and enhances student engagement in co-curricular activities, strengthening relationships between domestic and international students.

Conversation Partners Program will have two more matching sessions on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. and on Tuesday, Oct 13, at 6 p.m. So, if you want to participate in our program, please sign up online. The last day to sign up is Friday, Oct 9.

For more information, please email Olga Holland and Irina Konstantinova at

Written by Olga Holland and Irina Konstantinova, OPIE faculty and Conversation Partners Program coordinators.

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