ELA Friends Program

Are you interested in working with international students, or are you an international student looking for opportunities to improve your English outside of your classes? Are you interested in learning about other cultures and meeting new people? Would you like to be an active part of the UWM community? Participate in the ELA Friends program!

The English Language Academy (ELA) Friends Program is a program that provides opportunities to both native-English speaking students (and community members) and international students to get involved in the UWM and campus communities, build intercultural relationships, and learn more about a new language or culture. Additionally, this program also provides opportunities that help build professional experiences.

Are you a native-English speaking* student or community member?

Different volunteer opportunities might include some of the following:

  • being a mentor for special groups of students that we host
  • being a part of our conversation groups
  • helping run our international student movie nights
  • helping with our new student orientations, such as by giving campus tours
  • joining in as a mentor on Intensive English Program field trips
  • joining in as a mentor for on-campus and Milwaukee city events and activities

Please consult our ELA Friends Volunteer Mentor page to learn more and to apply.

(*Please note: We do allow and encourage international students or community members that have a CEFR level of C1 or higher who sound native-like to apply to become an ELA Friends Volunteer Mentor.)

Are you an international student?

The ELA Friends Program provides opportunities to participate in events with ELA Friends volunteer mentors and other international students and to get involved in the community through volunteer opportunities. Please consult our ELA International Friends Volunteer page to learn more information.

Different volunteer opportunities might include some of the following:

  • Giving out candy at the Milwaukee Public Museum Halloween celebration
  • Participating in Make a Difference Day – one day set aside each semester to help local community members with their different needs, such as cleaning their yards
  • Being an usher at a local Milwaukee theater play
  • Being a volunteer at Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival

Different ELA Friends events might include some of the following:

  • Nature park hikes at local parks
  • Downtown Milwaukee walking tours
  • Bowling at the University Recreation Center
  • Virtual game nights
  • Hangouts at Bradford Beach

These are just some of the different opportunities that we participate in and provide. Each semester we look for new and more opportunities to add to these lists.


If you have any questions regarding our ELA Friends Program, please email the English Language Academy Program Assistant, Lauren Kuske, at lmkuske@uwm.edu.