Conversation partners


  1. To provide opportunities for international students to practice their spoken English with an American student outside the classroom;
  2. To promote intercultural understanding and awareness between American students and international students;
  3. To provide opportunities for interested American students to learn about other cultures or languages;
  4. To help promote American students' interest in studying abroad; and
  5. To help promote American students' interest in learning another language

For ESL students

Who can have a conversation partner?

The Conversation Partners Program is a voluntary program for ESL students. Any ESL students interested in this program can apply by filling out the Conversation Partners-ESL Student Application Form form. Students can also pick up the form in Woods Hall.

What do ESL students do with their conversation partners?

ESL students participating in this program meet with their conversation partners an hour a week to have a conversation with their conversation partners on a topic both parties are interested in--Suggested topics are listed below for their reference. Mutual respect is expected of both parties.

For American students

Who is eligible to be a conversation partner for an ESL student?

This is a volunteer program on the part of the American students. Any Murray State students who are interested in the program can apply by filling out the application form, Conversation Partners-American Student Application, which is also available in Room 119, Woods Hall. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

What do conversation partners do?

American students selected to participate in this program meet with their assigned ESL students an hour a week during the regular semester. They can talk, go to a movie, watch a sports game, go grocery shopping, etc. Students should not do or talk about things that the other party does not feel comfortable with. Mutual respect is expected of both parties.

For both ESL students and the American students

Suggested topics are as follows:

For beginning level students (Levels 1 & 2)

  • Introduction
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Pets
  • Food
  • Sports, music, and movies
  • Electronic gadgets

Please try to use everyday vocabulary words and very simple sentences because the students' English is very limited.

For intermediate level students (Levels 3 & 4)

  • Introduction
  • Telephone/cell phone etiquette
  • Excuses
  • Compliments and responses
  • Complaints
  • Request for help
  • Offer of help

You can also use the suggested topics for beginning level students for a little in-depth discussion.

For advanced level students (Levels 5 & 6)

  • Introduction
  • Attending school in the student home country/in the United States
  • Dating
  • Animals and environment
  • Shopping
  • Fashion and styles
  • Doctor appointments
  • Social events, such as parties, weddings, funerals

You can also use the topics for the beginning and intermediate level students for a more in-depth discussion.

You can also go to for conversation topics and ideas.

Whom to contact?

If you are interested in the ESL Conversation Partners program or have any questions about the program, please contact Devon Cooper ( or 270-809-4109) or stop by her office at 7A-8 Faculty Hall.