ESL Volunteer Opportunities

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We value your interest in our students!

We have developed two programs to bring foreign students and local residents together for an unforgettable cultural experience. Join us in these programs all year round!

We have new students joining us monthly that will need friendship families and Conversation Partners, so please contact us at your earliest convenience. Pass the word along to your circle of contacts and ask them to volunteer too!

You can be our next conversation partner or friendship family and have the opportunity to make new friends, learn about foreign cultures and really help make our students’ time at Rockford University more interesting, fun and memorable.

Conversation Partners
Our ESL students enjoy meeting other students, faculty, staff or other members of the Rockford community for casual conversation time after class or during their lunch break. Meetings are set up on or off-campus and usually last about an hour per week.

This program brings an opportunity for our students to talk with American English speakers and it is critical to language skill advancement. Our students need conversation partners on a regular basis since most of them do not live with English speakers and do not have a chance to practice with the language outside of class.

Conversation Partners benefit from learning about different cultures and languages while meeting people from all over the world. Common topics for these conversation sessions are holidays, foods, traditions, history, relationships, sports, among many others.

Read the article by about Conversation Partners

Friendship Families
Friendship families (FFs) "adopt” a student to spend more time with them than just an occasional conversation time. A friendship family may have students over for dinner, take him or her on an outing, or even go out to the movies and talk about it later. (Students pay their own way to events and dinners out.)

Sometimes FFs will allow a student to stay overnight during school breaks or as a break from dorm life. Another common tradition is to invite them over to celebrate a holiday like Thanksgiving or 4th of July. Students need to feel a part of a family when they are away from their own families, and they need to practice English and learn about our customs and culture.

FFs can adopt a student for a certain period of time or for the length of the student’s stay in our program, which normally ranges from three to six months.
  • Read about our Conversation Partner Program online at
  • Look at our Photo Gallery to meet some of our students!

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