American students converse with students from Saudia Arabia and Brazil.

International Conversation Hour

Ohio Program of Intensive English held its weekly International Conversation Hour on Wednesday October 23 in Baker Center Bobcat Student Lounge.

During the selected hour, international and American students converse with one another, providing OPIE students with the opportunity to gain knowledge on different forms of English, learn the normal pace of American’s speaking English and even make new friends outside of the internationally insulated program.

Lohan Galvao Oliveira, an OPIE student from Brazil, has attended between four and five International Conversation Hour sessions at Ohio University. Oliveira thoroughly enjoys the event as it provides an opportunity for him to talk with people from all around the world, including China, Saudia Arabia, Japan, America and many more.

“I can hear different accents and versions of English,” Oliveira said when asked how the conversation hour is personally beneficial.

Abdullah Alghamdi, President of OPIE Student Union and an OPIE student from Saudia Arabia, finds the experience equally rewarding, as it is a chance to break the ice with American students and learn more about American culture.

“I need English. I want to express myself. I want to say I have an idea,” Alghamdi stated.

Alghamdi believes it is necessary to immerse oneself in the American society and culture, making use of the learned English while growing and experiencing a culturally different setting. International Conversation Hour provides this opportunity for Alghamdi, along with the many other OPIE students.

American students attending International Conversation Hour are aware that a majority of contributing students come from international backgrounds consisting of languages other than English. “It’s a good place to make friends because [we are] shy to make mistakes in front of native speakers, so we feel more free because [we] know the native knows,” Alghamdi said.

“I need English. I want to express myself. I want to say I have an idea,” Alghamdi stated.

Lohan Galvao Oliveira examines his Halloween bingo sheet.
Lohan Galvao Oliveira examines his Halloween bingo sheet.

International Conversation Hour is an added supplement to help OPIE students with their English, in addition to daily OPIE classes.

Within OPIE, students are placed into levels based on personal test results and skill. According to Andrea Johannes and Kamola Azimova, OPIE instructors and the ladies in charge of International Conversation Hour, students are put into one of four different levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced or advanced combined skills.

OPIE students are also allowed to take courses offered through Ohio University in addition to their English classes once reaching a specific level. As stated on the OPIE website http://www.ohio.edu/linguistics/opie/, “Students at semi-intensive levels who are admitted to Ohio University may take one or two academic courses while they study English.”

The four different levels contain courses that work with the students on, primarily, grammar, reading and writing. Students will stay in the same level for an entire semester and are only allowed to stay in the program for a maximum allotted time of one year and six months.

OPIE features many different events for the students to immerse themselves in American culture. Although many of the events consist of predominantly international students, they are all open to the entire university population. Like International Conversation Hour, American students are encouraged to participate in OPIE-held events, as their involvement helps to further OPIE students’ progression in a positive manner.

Many of the students joined the Association of Cultural Exchange for their pumpkin carving event after International Conversation Hour.
Many of the students joined the Association of Cultural Exchange for their pumpkin carving event after International Conversation Hour.

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