English-in-Action (EIA) Conversation Program

About the program

EIA Logo (New)

The English-in-Action (EIA) conversation program matches international students, scholars, postdocs and spouses with volunteer conversation leaders to help our international visitors with conversational English language skills, simultaneously helping them to acquire a better understanding of American culture and to acclimate more quickly to their new environment. EIA volunteers are community members, faculty, staff, and students.

Volunteers and participants usually meet once a week for 1.5 to 2 hours at a day, time and location that is convenient for both. The EIA program is a rewarding learning experience for the international guest and volunteer, as they both gain considerable cultural insight and a deeper understanding and appreciation for diversity.

Do you want to be matched with a volunteer for English conversation?

The EIA program is currently accepting applications for the new 2018-2019 Academic Year. Please visit https://sa-web.ucsd.edu/eia/Participant/Apply to apply to work with an EIA Volunteer.

After we receive your application, we'll place you on a waitlist to be matched with a volunteer, the current wait time to be matched is about a month. After you've been matched with a CL, you can meet weekly for 1-2 hours for up to 1 year or your departure date from UC San Diego, whichever comes first.

Note:  Visiting Scholar/Student/PostDoc(not enrolled in a full-time program at UC San Diego) and Spouses are NOT required to come into our office for an interview.

If you have any questions, please contact the Program Coordinator at eia@ucsd.edu.

Who is eligible?

  • Enrolled, degree-seeking, UC San Diego international undergraduate and graduate students
  • Non-degree seeking Exchange Abroad Program(EAP)-Reciprocity students
  • UC San Diego affiliated post-doctorates and research scholars, including GLI students
  • Spouses of UC San Diego affiliated international students, post-doctorates, and research scholars

Note: There is a $80 fee for:

  • UC San Diego affiliated post-doctorates
  • Research scholars, which includes visiting students from Global Leadership Institute (GLI)
  • Visiting graduate students
  • Spouses of J-1 visiting scholars or F-1 international students

Please visit http://bit.ly/EIARegistrationPolicy to view the EIA program registration fee policy.


Who is NOT eligible?

  • UC San Diego Extension Students from English Language Institute and Certificate programs
  • Non-UC San Diego affiliated researchers (The Scripps Research Institute, Salk, Burnham, V.A. Hospital)
  • Children of UC San Diego-affiliated international students, post-doctorates, and research scholars
  • Permanent Residents
  • Citizens of the US who have a US passport

Are you looking for additional English language Resources?  Click here for a list of additional community and campus resources.

Do you want to be an EIA Volunteer?

Help an international student, scholar, or spouse improve conversational English skills and become more familiar with the American culture. Training is provided to all volunteers, as well as materials and resources to assist you in your  sessions. Please visit https://sa-web.ucsd.edu/eia/Leader/Apply to complete an application.

Over 300 volunteers participate in the program yearly volunteering over 2,000 hours per month.  Our volunteer leaders help over 400 international students and scholars each year improve their English skills and acclimate them to UC San Diego. Please visit our Conversation Leader Experiences page to hear what past and current leaders have shared about the EIA program.

If you have any questions, please contact the Program Coordinator at eia@ucsd.edu.

Your commitment:

  • One orientation session (scheduled approximately twice a month for 1 hour)
  • Meet with your assigned participant for 1 - 2 hours each week.

Who is eligible?

  • Local community members
  • UC San Diego staff, faculty, alumnus and students
  • Anyone who has interest and empathy in helping our international community acclimate better to their new environment by helping them with their English language skills

Benefits of being an EIA volunteer

  • CREATE long-lasting friendships
  • LEARN about other cultures and backgrounds
  • DEVELOP a skill-set as global citizens to help you prepare for your travels and/or studies abroad
  • **NEW** for UC San Diego STUDENT volunteers - HIGHLIGHT your EIA experience on your Co-Curricular Record (CCR)

A successful EIA volunteer has...

Time: Meet once a week for approximately two hours with your assigned participant. At least a one-year commitment to the tutoring program is requested, but any help is deeply appreciated.

Patience: Understand that learning a language is not easy. There will be times of forward progress, as well a series of spurts, stalls, even regressions.

Empathy: EIA applicants are educated people, who may be experiencing difficulties in communicating their ideas and thoughts in our culture and academic environment. 

Passion: Desire to help our international community improve their English fluency while fostering cross-cultural exchange.

For more information:

Contact eia@ucsd.edu

Conversation Leader Spotlight

Olga Krambs

Olga Krambs has been a licensed and certified speech pathologist for over 30 years and has retired twice.  She says that the work she does now as a tutor is very different from what she did professionally, and now loves the new focus.  Read more . . . 

Participant Spotlight

Nan Zou

Nan Zou is from China and received his BS degree in Management Science in Beijing, China. He chose to come to UCSD to get his PhD because he was attracted to the research opportunities that UCSD has to offer. .....(read more)