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The English-in-Action (EIA) conversation program matches international students, scholars 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.

Conversation partners usually meet for 1.5 to 2 hours per week at a 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 work with a conversation leader to improve your English fluency?

The EIA program is currently accepting applications. Please visit to apply to work with an EIA Conversation Leader (CL).

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 ONE-TIME 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 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 a conversation leader?

Help an international student, scholar, or spouse improve conversational English skills and become more familiar with the American culture. Training is provided to all conversation leaders, as well as materials and resources to assist you in your  sessions. Please visit to complete an application and sign up for a virtual orientation.

**Please note that you will need to sign the standard Program Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk, and Indemnity Agreement before filling out the application, it is required by all volunteers and participants that participate in any UC San Diego program.**

Over 300 leaders 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 .

Your commitment:

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

Who is eligible?

  • Local community members
  • UC San Diego staff, faculty, 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 conversation leader

  • You create long-lasting friendships
  • You learn about other cultures and backgrounds
  • You develop a skill-set as global citizens to help you prepare for your travels and/or studies abroad

A successful EIA conversation leader has...

Time: CLs and students meet once a week for approximately two hours. At least a one-year commitment to the tutoring program is requested, but any help is deeply appreciated.

Patience: CLs have to 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: CLs should know that EIA applicants are educated people, who may be experiencing difficulties in communicating their ideas and thoughts in our culture and academic environment.

Passion: CLs have a desire to help those in need while fostering cross-cultural exchange.

For more information: