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104 and still wanting more: Conversation tables in need of talkative participants
Chevonne Forgey
Antelope Staff
Photo by Chevonne Forgey
Showing their support for the Campus Conversation Tables, Diana Ardila (left) from Columbia, Jie Chen (center) of China and Dan Yu (right) from China, encourage all students to participate. One of the points of their conversation: They are excited for next week’s event, but they also anxiously await Nebraska’s first snowfall.

A chart topping 104 people attended the Campus Conversation Tables Thursday, Sept. 24 at the food court of the student union, but the organizers are still in a hunt for more participants.

Those participants can be students looking for extra credit in their classes, students who just want to make contact and conversation with international students who speak a different language or international students who want to hone their English skills.

The conversation tables were designed to help give English Language Institute (ELI) students an opportunity to speak English with other UNK students in a casual and informal atmosphere.  

Many of the international students respond to the conversation tables positively. Diana Ardila, an international student from Columbia, said she enjoys the chances to speak English with other students because English has been very hard to learn.

Dan Yu, an international student from China, said the practice at conversation tables helps him prepare for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) that most international students take in October. TOEFL is an Internet based test of English language skills that the ELI students must take and pass in order to declare majors and minors.  

Ardila said the TOEFL test is very difficult. “Anything I can do to prepare for this test is helpful.” Ardila hopes to enter a major in either psychology or education once she passes the TOEFL. Yu hopes to enter into an education major once he passes.  

Education specialist and director of the Campus Conversation Tables, Lisa Terry said, “The outpouring of UNK students that come to participate in the conversation tables has increased every week. Whether they are here for their own reasons or for extra credit in another campus class, their attendance is so very important and appreciated.”

Terry said, that ELI students often sit through hours of lectures a day and rarely get the opportunity to practice their English skills. “The weekly conversation tables allow the students to visit and chat with English speakers in a non-intimidating and casual atmosphere.”  

The Campus Conversation Tables take place every Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. in the food court of the student union. For more information on upcoming conversation tables, contact Lisa Terry by e-mail or just show up at one of the meetings before fall break.

Video by Emily Wemhoff

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