University of Iowa

English Proficiency and Cultural Adjustment Resources

Arriving to study in a foreign country can be challenging for international students, linguistically and culturally.  There are several resources in the community though that can help.

English Proficiency Development Opportunities

  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Campus Conversation Partners
    • Campus Conversation Partners is a program sponsored by ESL Programs that pairs non-native-English-speaking students, scholars, and staff with native or near-native English-speaking members of the University faculty and staff for one-on-one, informal conversation in English.
  • International Women’s Club
    • Morning Classes Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
  • All Levels St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
  • 1300 Melrose Avenue (Corner of Melrose & Sunset)
  • Informal classes, divided into 3 or 4 levels according to ability. New students are welcome. The charge for the ten week session is $20 (nonmembers); $10 (members). Free childcare is provided.  For more information contact Becky Sato at 319-337-2589/
  • Kirkwood Community College
    • Free to eligible adults through Kirkwood’s Adult Basic Education Program in Iowa City.  For more information call 319/887-3646 or visit their website.
  • Iowa City Public Library, 123 S Linn St, Iowa City, IA
    • Informal conversion practice for non-native English speakers held every Friday at 10 a.m.

Cultural Adjustment Assistance

  • Life in Iowa
    • "Life in Iowa" is a program designed to assist and support international students adjusting to life and the academic system here in Iowa. The program, sponsored by International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) provides workshops, and social activities intended to increase understanding and integration of students within Iowa’s culture.
  • Friends of International Students
    • Friends of International Students (FIS) is a non-profit organization of people in the Iowa City area who are interested in meeting and helping international students from the University of Iowa. FIS is affiliated with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at the University of Iowa and is run by community volunteers.
  • Organization for the Active Support of International Students
    • Organization for the Active Support of International Students (OASIS) is a University of Iowa student organization, which gives voice to the rich diversity of international students present on the UI campus. Goals of this organization include: helping students develop a sense of belonging, facilitating collaboration between the various nationality groups on campus, and increasing communication between UI administration and the international student body at large.
  • Student Life Website
    • The Office of Student Life provides a comprehensive list of student organizations at the University of Iowa to connect students with the campus, develop leadership skills, and have fun, including some nationality groups.
  • Guide to Living in Iowa City
    • This guide was created by ISSS to introduce new arrivals to our community and campus.