Community Engagement Programs

Our Community Engagement Programs are designed to connect members of the Penn State and State College community with one another across cultures to foster a greater appreciation and understanding of the rich cultural differences that exist in our region.

CONVERSATION PARTNERS PROGRAM

The Conversation Partners Program matches one native or near-native English speaker with an individual or a small group of international partners for informal language practice and fun cultural exchange. It is a volunteer-driven program and is open to everyone – Penn State faculty, staff, students and local community members. Participants often find this to be an excellent opportunity to extend warm friendship and share their own cultures, as well as practice their English-speaking skills in an informal setting.

The goal of this program is to provide international volunteers the opportunity to improve their English skill with a native English speaker, while to learn more American culture, and also share their own culture with the matched partner. Matched partners are recommended to meet for at least one hour each time, and preferably every week. They can talk informally about any topics they both interested in and feel comfortable about. The partners can decide when and where to meet, and frequently it could be a chat over lunch or a coffee.

This program provides a great opportunity for international participants to practice English in a casual way, which usually help them become more comfortable speaking English in their daily life. It also could give them a chance to ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking in other situations. Especially for international students to have a conversation partner could help them understand American culture and American Classroom culture. They can gain perspective and understanding on what it is like to be a student at an American university.

Meanwhile, this program helps American volunteers to get to know a person from another country and learn about a new culture than their own through a personal level.

The conversation partners program runs during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Registration is OPEN for Spring 2024!

Register for the Conversation Partner Program today! Click on the sign-up link below:

Sign up for Conversation Partners Program today! https://forms.office.com/r/PK68uiDLvT

Please note: If you are an international student from an English-speaking country, please complete the Native English speakers form.

Our office provides in-person events throughout the semester for program members to meet other peer volunteers and hang out together. Please save the following dates for Spring 2024 in-person events and we will send out formal invitations when the semester starts.

April 5 Paint Your Pottery with your Conversation Partner.

April 19 Ice Cream Social

If you are interested or have any questions, please feel free to email us at gp-cep@psu.edu.

ANNUAL TAX WORKSHOPS

Are you an international student with tax questions? The Annual Tax Workshops provide general information about U.S. taxes to international students and scholars. The workshops highlight the process of filing taxes (federal, state, and local). 2024 Tax Information Sessions for helping international students who file their tax returns as nonresident aliens (for tax purposes) will be available as the following dates and times.

Wednesday, March 6, 3:00 – 5:00 pm

Wednesday, March 13, 12:30 – 2:30 pm

Wednesday, March 27, 12:30 – 2:30 pm

Wednesday, April 3, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

Wednesday, April 10, 12:30 – 2:30 pm

Sessions will be held at Boucke 410, University Park. Please register through the link: https://forms.office.com/r/QRaReCpKXa

The office of International Student and Scholar Advising (ISSA) provides email instructions on calculating residency and other details once they are available. For more information, please visit our tax information page (https://global.psu.edu/category/taxes).

Each year, volunteers in the Annual Tax Workshops help hundreds of individuals from more than 55 countries and regions around the world. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with the annual tax workshops, please fill out the interest registration link and feel free to contact our office at gp-cep@psu.edu if you have any questions. We would love to have you join us!

INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS BUREAU

The International Speakers Bureau connects international volunteers with university and community organizations to promote intercultural understanding by sharing their home cultures through interactive and dynamic presentations. Speakers are community members, Penn State students, scholars, faculty and staff who are interested in providing age-appropriate presentations to various audiences. It’s a wonderful opportunity for international volunteers to share their life experiences and cultural perspectives. The presentations might include but not limited PowerPoint slides, the display of cultural items, performances of cultural music, dancing, or crafts.

If you would like to be an international speaker, please fill out the interest registration link. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the office at gp-cep@psu.edu.

To request a speaker, please send an email that includes detailed information such as proposed date, interested countries, and number of volunteers needed, to Wenjie Fu at wzf11@psu.edu with "Speaker Request" in the subject line. We kindly as you to send the request at least two to three weeks in advance to provide ample time for our office to contact and confirm a volunteer.