Learning English is one of the most critical needs of refugees who resettle in the U.S.
However, it is important that refugees not only learn English in the classroom, but that they have the opportunity to practice and learn through daily conversation. These skills are incredibly valuable and affect so many facets of a refugee’s life. Improved English language skills can contribute to better employment, enhanced self-advocacy and increased confidence as refugees rebuild their lives in their new home country.
Volunteers are invited to help refugees develop conversation skills through New Neighbor Conversations. The New Neighbor Conversations program connects refugees with native English speakers to improve refugees’ conversational English and to build relationships in the process. Volunteers commit to a three month conversation partnership with a refugee living in Chicago or DuPage County. Students and conversation partners meet once a week in the comfort of the student’s home at a mutually agreed upon time.
Exodus World Service ensures that volunteers are:
- Trained in cross-cultural and refugee issues
- Equipped with a Resource Site that includes tools and techniques to improve the English of their student
- Consistently supported from the initial match through the completion of the partnership
(New Neighbor Conversations is not an ESL/ELL program, but is intended to supplement English language learning. Volunteers are not required to have teaching or ESL/ELL experience to serve as conversation partners.)