Welcome to the American English Institute's Tutoring and Conversation Partner Program!

The American English Institute (AEI), as an accredited unit of the College of Arts and Sciences, serves the educational mission of the University of Oregon through scholarship, English language instruction, and English language professional training. The AEI champions the University’s mission of internationalization and is a leader in helping achieve the University’s goals for diversity and student success. The AEI supports the University in the integration of international students into all aspects of campus life, and collaborates with faculty across campus to create a successful academic experience for all international students. 

The AEI's Tutoring and Conversation Partner Program provides students with three different ways to interact with UO peer native English speakers:

1. Conversation Partner Program: AEI Tutoring Services offers IEP students an optional two hours of weekly one-on-one sessions with a UO student conversation partner. Conversation partners work with students to improve their English speaking and listening skills, and help students adapt to social, cultural, and academic life on campus and in the community.  Sessions range from working on classroom assignments to helping students understand their phone bill to having informal conversation. IEP students must sign-up by the Friday of Week One in order to be guaranteed a conversation partner. 

2. Classroom Tutors: Orals Skills Class (OCS) tutors attend OCS classes one day a week from Weeks Two through Eight. OCS tutors are specially trained conversation partners who participate in small group discussions or other teacher-directed activities. During orientation week, OCS instructors are provided the opportunity to request tutors for the term. Similarly, International Student Success (ISS) tutors attend ISS classes one day a week from Weeks Two through Eight. ISS tutors are also specially trained tutors who facilitate instructor-directed activities with students.

3. Drop-In Tutoring Help Desk: AEI Tutoring Services provides a help desk for IEP students Monday to Thursday from 1pm-3pm and Friday 11am-1pm in Agate Hall 129.  Students receive help with homework, essays, TOEFL practice or extra conversation practice.  Two experienced conversation partners help staff each session. 

The primary goal of the AEI's Tutoring and Conversation Partner Program is to augment students' English language study with authentic, conversational English and social experiences with their UO peers.  Weekly interaction with native English speakers helps students in several ways:

  • Students build their confidence to talk with native speakers.
  • Students strengthen the listening skills necessary for efficient reading in English, a phonemic language.
  • Students get practice attuning their ears to the spoken patterns of connected speech, which are not apparent in written text.
  • Oral reinforcement of new vocabulary helps put new vocabulary into long-term memory.
  • Social interaction with their UO peers exposes students to daily American social patterns and personal boundaries, which may conflict with their own cultural patterns. Understanding and abiding by the differences in social expectations and behavioral boundaries will ease communication and help build lasting friendships. Some examples include expectations around gift-giving and favors in American culture, and understanding how the American values of self-reliance and independence are reflected in our expectations of each other.

In addition to providing authentic conversational and social experiences, conversation partners also support students who want extra help with homework, presentations, vocabulary, and pronunciation.  


Interested in becoming a Conversation Partner?  Click on the "Become a Conversation Partner" tab toward the top of this page. We accept applications on a rolling basis. We are no longer hiring for fall term.

Interested in volunteering with IEP international students?

Check out the AEI Activities webpage and join in one of their trips or events. Native English speakers are ALWAYS welcome to join our activities in order to help make English the language of choice.

Volunteers can also attend the English Language Circles at the Mills International Center.

AEI Event Calendar