The International Center sponsors the Intercultural Conversation Program (ICP). ICP is a one-semester volunteer program that matches Tufts (Medford / Somerville campus) English-speaking students and staff with first year international graduate students who want to practice their conversational English skills, learn more about US life and culture, and find their way around Tufts or the Boston area. In this way, ICP assists new graduate students with the transition to Tufts.
The Intercultural Conversation Program is an informal program. Partners meet according to their own schedules throughout the Fall semester. There are also some scheduled group activities such as weekly one-to-one meetings, pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving dinner, and an end-of-the-program event.
Partners are expected to contact each other to set up a regular meeting time (one hour per week during the fall semester). This is typically initiated by the mentor, but should eventually become a joint effort!
The place(s) you meet are up to the two of you. You may find a good place on campus to talk over lunch, coffee, etc., and after a while, you may want to attend different activities together both on and off-campus.
If it is the international partner's first extended stay in the US, they will probably need assistance from their mentor in answering questions about how to get around Tufts and Boston, where to buy clothes and food, and US classroom and academic culture. If the mentee has lived in the US previously or for a longer period of time, both partners may want to talk about topics related to each other's cultures or hobbies. Any topic of conversation is acceptable.
Some comments made by past participants may provide the best answers:
"At first, I expected a conversation partner as a[n] English teacher. Yet I realized it is more interesting for me to share my culture with someone who is interested in it. Since we are friends now, we'll keep in touch!" - Student from Japan
"I really enjoy talking to my partner and meeting the other students in the program. They have had so many different experiences in places that I have never been, and they have much to share." - US partner
"My partner and I developed a close friendship during the ICP program and enjoyed our companionship very much. I learned so many interesting things about the American culture from her, which absolutely helps me having a smoother experience as an international student." - Student from Iran
"It has been wonderful to meet someone of a different culture and personality. It feels as if we shared more than just language and also about our lives; learning about each other's cultures, families, and histories." - US partner