Make an appointment
Conversation Center

About the CC

About the CC

The Conversation Center aspires to improve student life at the University of Iowa by encouraging students of all nations to engage with each other in productive conversations in which they strengthen their communication skills and broaden their understanding of differing cultural perspectives. As both international and domestic students practice their communication skills at the Conversation Center, they connect with their larger communities and encourage a richer exchange of culture on campus. We firmly believe the University of Iowa can create a more welcoming environment for international students, and all can benefit from the diversity on campus.

Created as a collaborative effort between undergraduate students from the President’s Leadership Class and faculty in the Rhetoric Department, we host quality one-on-one and small group conversation between international students and confident English speakers staffed by service-learning volunteers in a Rhetoric class (RHET:2090 Conversation Practicum) that trains confident English speakers for these dynamic and rewarding interactions. The program builds cultural awareness and appreciation on-campus while providing support to our undergraduate population.

The benefits for Non-confident English speakers include:

  • Improving conversational skills
  • Practicing casual English consistently
  • Making new friends
  • Learning about United States culture
  • Building confidence about interacting with confident English speakers in the classroom and community

The benefits for Confident English Speakers include:

  • Learning the power of open communication
  • Increasing cultural awareness (local, regional, national, and international)
  • Strengthening conversational skills
  • Making new friends
  •  Engaging in a rewarding experiential learning challenge


RHET:2090 Conversation Practicum

This Rhetoric course trains confident English speakers (domestic and international welcome!) to meet with international students and scholars for casual English practice. The class will begin with several weeks of training to hone cross-cultural awareness and conversational skills including visits from campus experts in ESL, ISSS, and the First-Gen Task Force. After 10 weeks working as Conversation Partners, the students will come back together as a class to present reflections on their experiences to each other. After successfully completing the Conversation Practicum, students may return to the Conversation Center as part of our Peer Leader Program, serving as mentors for the new group of Conversation Partners.

The Conversation Partners will build both a rapport and a deep, two-way cultural fluency.

RHET:2090 Conversation Practicum is connected across campus, counting towards; 

-University Honors Experiential Learning

-International Studies Major 

-Rhetoric & Persuasion Minor


Intercultural Social Hours

We welcome invitation to schedule low-stakes group conversations between our confident English Speakers and English language learners in the Iowa City Community and beyond! These Intercultural Social Hour provide fun small group interactions to discuss ever-changing cultural topics (and sometimes we play games!), to build casual English skills and celebrate intercultural engagement in Iowa.