Faculty and students alike are encouraged to volunteer as “speaking partners” for international Pathway students.

September 26, 2012
Writer: Hayden Coombs

Instructors can now give students a taste of international culture right here in Rexburg.

Intended to help international Pathway students improve their English, volunteers in the Speaking Partners Program interact virtually with students in Albania, Ghana, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, and the United States to provide speaking and listening practice while discussing topics from their English classes. The program currently has about 500 Pathway English language students this semester in Ghana, Mexico, Peru, and the U.S., and about the same number of Speaking Partners on and off campus who work one-on-one with the Pathway students.

According to Rebecca Cheney, the English Language Manager of Pathway International, "There is still a need of additional volunteers to counteract the attrition. We would also like to have back-up floating speaking partners."

Faculty members are encouraged to promote the program as a means for students to gain real-world, international experience. Suggestions include assigning students to be speaking partners for homework or extra credit, or even as a service assignment. 

Sister Cheney also stated, "This service opportunity will not only help the students practice speaking and listening in real-time English, but ultimately, it will bless the lives of the students, their families, and the volunteers. Speaking partners will develop the characteristics of disciple leaders while building friendships with those whom they serve."

For more information about how you or your students can help, visit www.byui.edu/online/speaking-partners.