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 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, as well as a Rhetoric class 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 will train confident English speakers to meet with international students for casual English practice. The class will begin with several weeks of training to hone cross-cultural awareness and conversational skills. 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 in later semesters and serve as mentors for the new group of Conversation Partners.

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

International students who enroll in this program reserve a regular weekly time to work with a domestic English speaking student. Sessions are 30 minutes long and will occur for 10 weeks each semester. Most meetings are held at in the Main Library (in group areas A, C, & E), and we have availabilities at the Engineering Library & Business Library, as well as Hardin Library on the west-side (check your appointment partner's bio by day & time for an exact meeting location). 

This course satisfies the University Honors Experiential Learning Requirement with an Honors Contract.

Intercultural Social Hour

A low-stakes group conversation between confident English Speakers and English language learners, the Intercultural Social Hour provides fun small group interactions to discuss ever-changing cultural topics (and sometimes we play games!), meeting twice a semester to work on casual English skills and celebrate intercultural engagement on-campus at Iowa.

During the Fall of 2017, the Intercultural Social Hour will be held in N110 Lindquist Center, 5-6pm on Thursday September 7th, and 5-6pm on Tuesday November 28th.  For more information, please contact Ben Hassman

September 7th Kick-off Sign-up:

November 28th Celebration Sign-up: