Conversation Circles are meet ups provided for international students to engage in a safe space to practice their English located on the second floor of building 9B at the International Students Center.
The Mt. SAC Conversation Circles was brought on a couple of years ago and was originally funded under the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander – Servitude Institute AANAPISI Grant, which also funded the start of the Arise Program. When the five year grant was over, Mt. SAC's Conversation Circles were moved under the International Student Program.
At Mt. SAC two types of Conversation Circles are held – a large group and a small group. The large group typically starts on week four of each semester and is held weekly. It runs until week 13 or 14 of the academic semester. It takes place in building 66 room 2831 and is facilitated by Laura Bishop, the ESL professor in charge of Conversation Circles.
Bishop said that the goal is to practice authentic conversations that do not include the stresses of a classroom setting. Conversation Circles covers open-ended topics such as culture shock, education, career goals, honesty, relationships, social media and any other topics that are relatable to students. They also play board games at these events that require language and communication and watch American video clips that they later discuss.
Hai Le is an international student from Vietnam. He attended university there, but came to the U.S. after being accepted at Mt. SAC. He is a regular attendee of Mt.SAC's Conversation Circles and enjoys the food and games. His favorite part about attending Conversation Circles is the opportunity to meet and hang out with other students.
Conversation Circles will be occurring for the last two weeks of the semester. For any more information on Mt. SAC's Conversation Circles, check out their webpage on the Mt. SAC website.