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Volunteering in the English Conversation Program


Students, are you interested in volunteering? We are accepting applications!

The learning went in both directions. I learned about Chinese culture and it was nice to be asked questions about my experience as a Canadian from someone with an obvious desire to travel and learn about other cultures.

Individual Peer-Based Assistance

Normally the program matches a fluent English-speaking student volunteer with two international learners wanting to improve their conversation skills and language confidence.  Participants meet for approximately one hour per week to practice day-to-day conversation, pronunciation and vocabulary improvement skills.

It was always beneficial to learn about what was humorous in another culture. I also noticed that the more you know about that person’s culture that is definitely not common knowledge, the more comfortable language buddies feel around you, and are then further willing to share even MORE about their culture.

English Conversation Group

The English Conversation Group has been a regular Thursday night activity at QUIC for many years. It is intended for people who already have a reasonable level of English, but need extra confidence, and to learn some new expressions. Two facilitators are assisted by volunteers who help with smaller table groups and activities. It is informal and lots of fun!

The Group is the recipient of the 2009 Queen’s University Human Rights Office Initiatives Award in recognition of its long standing contributions to community building and support for international students. In 2013, two Group volunteers were recognized for their outstanding contribution to the community by the Kingston United Way Volunteer Centre.

Why participate:

  • Get involved with international community at Queen’s
  • Share your knowledge and experiences with others
  • Excellent opportunity for intercultural learning to build your own intercultural competence
  • Skills development: communication, empathy,  facilitation and language learning
  • Satisfaction from helping others to have a positive experience in our community
  • Access to training and expertise available at the QUIC
Before we begin each conversation meeting, my English Language Buddy asks me a list of questions – usually about idioms she hears – and I try to answer them the best I can; we proceed with our conversation topic for the day, often referring back to the idioms she asked me about.


General Volunteer Requirements

  • Must be a fluent English speaker
  • Queen’s student or alumn with excellent listening skills
  • A friendly, open, and committed individual able to give 1-2 hours of their time, for at least 8 weeks
  • Strong communication skills with ability to engage participants
  • Professionalism: Strict adherence to program guidelines at all times
  • Appreciation of diversity and respect towards cultural differences
  • Some intercultural skills, experience and awareness
  • Some understanding of challenges related to newcomers’ transition into a new environment


Volunteers are asked to complete the Equity Office Human Rights 101 Online Training.  Volunteers are also strongly encouraged to attend the in-person intercultural training at the QUIC, and to complete the QUIC introductory modules online.  This training is meant to directly benefit your program activities by providing cross-cultural communication framework and skills.

New volunteers must attend a program orientation session, and a program meeting. Please contact the program coordinator at if you have any questions. Thank you!


QUIC English Language Support Program

Expected volunteer time commitment: 1.5 hours/week, one semester minimum.