The English Language Conversation Program offers acculturation and conversational support to help students who are non-native English speakers fine-tune their speaking and listening skills, understand local idioms, learn more about the U.S. and Harvard cultures, or practice for oral presentations.
With the help of an English Language Conversation Partner, students seek to become more:
- effective learners in English;
- engaged participants in class discussions;
- effective oral presenters of intellectual ideas;
- fluent conversationalists in English;
- culturally aware members of the Harvard community.
Submit a request to be matched to an English Language Conversation Partner
Before signing up, please read our policies:
Please read the ARC Peer Tutoring Policies prior to signing up for an English Language Conversation Partner.
- Students (i.e., Tutees) may sign up for two 60-minute, one-to-one sessions per course each week. A week is defined as Sunday to Saturday. Exceptions to the limit may be considered; please contact the ARC for approval.
- Prior to the session, students should share their speaking goals with their Conversation Partner and discuss what topics or materials you would like to talk about. Students should expect to discuss topics of interest with their Conversation Partner and receive feedback about their fluency, word choice, and use of idioms or cultural references.
Cancellations and Missed Appointments
Students must notify their Conversation Partner at least 24 hours prior to appointment start time.
Students who miss three scheduled appointments (either by not showing up or by cancelling with less than 24 hours notice) may lose access to participating in the English Language Conversation Program for the remainder of the term and must consult with the ARC program staff to regain access.
Eligibility and Fees
English Language Conversaton Program services at the ARC are available to currently enrolled Harvard degree candidates and eligible visiting scholars.
Harvard College students can receive English Language Conversaton Program services free of charge.
Graduate students & visiting scholars should speak with their program director or adviser to determine eligibility for financial support. GSAS students interested in meeting with a Conversation Partner should submit this funding request form for review by GSAS Student Affairs. If a graduate student or visiting scholar is not offered funding by their program (and if a Conversation Partner is available) then the student will be charged the following rates for a Conversation Partner:
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS)
Harvard-Yenching Institute (HYI)
Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)
Q: Do English Language Conversation Partners provide writing or editing help?
A: No, they do not. The Conversation Partners provide conversational English support. For Harvard College students, the English Grammar and Language (EGL) Tutor at the Harvard College Writing Center can help with academic papers, fellowship applications, and graduate school applications.
Q: When are English Language Conversation Program services available?
A: The program runs during the fall and spring term; it is not offered during Winter Recess or the summer months.
Q: How much does it cost to be paired with a Conversation Partner?
A: Please review the Eligibility & Fees drop-down for more information on costs and funding options.
Q: Is there a limit on how many times I can meet with a Conversation Partner?
A: Harvard College students can book up to two hours with their English Language Conversation Partner per week. Graduate students and visiting scholars are usually approved for 2-4 hours/week.
Q: Who are English Language Conversation Partners?
A: Conversation Partners are Harvard students who are interested in helping their peers fine-tune their speaking and listening skills, understand local idioms, learn more about the U.S. and Harvard cultures, or practice for oral presentations.
Q: How should students prepare for a meeting with their English Language Conversation Partner?
A: Prior to the session, students should share their speaking goals with their Conversation Partner and discuss what topics or materials you would like to talk about.
Q: Where do meetings with Conversation Partners take place?
A: Currently all Conversation Partners meet with students via Zoom. Students receive their Zoom link after scheduling their first session.
Q: What should students expect in a meeting with a Conversation Partner?
A: Students should expect to discuss topics of interest with their Conversation Partner and receive feedback about their fluency, word choice, and use of idioms or cultural references.
Q: I'm interested in becoming a Conversation Partner. How do I apply?
A: When job opportunities are available, they will be posted on the Student Employement page.