Conversation Partner Testimonials

 

 Chris Arisz

ChrisI signed up to be a conversation partner as a way to meet someone new while in Sackville for the summer. I had never been involved with the MASSIE program before, but it looked like a great chance to get to know another student from across the world. Looking back, I’m so glad I took the opportunity.

At the meet and greet, my MASSIE conversation partner and I immediately found some pretty great commonalities in the things we enjoy doing. It was easy to meet regularly and there were also plenty of chances to be involved in the program. I was happy to be able to show her different aspects of Sackville while asking all about Japan and learning to speak and write a few words of Japanese. I'd like to think she got a few good maritime sayings to take back too! By the end of the summer, I could really appreciate the learning experience just as much as the friendship.  

I would highly recommend being a part of the conversation partner program to anyone who might be interested. I’ve got some good memories, and it’s nice to know I’ve got a friend to show me around Kobe if I get the chance to visit Japan.

 

Mirelle Naud

MirelleWhen a friend recommended MASSIE to me, I joined the program because I wanted to give others the meaningful experiences I once had abroad. Although nerve-wracking and embarrassing at times, opportunities where I got to practice conversations with enthusiastic native speakers were valuable and enjoyable.

I would say that watching someone grow more comfortable and confident in their English speaking abilities and developing a friendship with that person are the two more rewarding aspect of MASSIE. In addition, there are always interesting things to talk about. At first, it can feel difficult to have in depth conversations since you are both probably feeling shy and struggling with the language barrier to convey what you mean. However, after several weeks, the conversations begin to feel more natural, which is exciting for both of you.  

I'd completely recommend the MASSIE program. Being a conversation partner doesn't need to take up much time - you can just meet up once a week over coffee - but it's much more rewarding and memorable if you can spend whole mornings, afternoons or evenings with your partner doing activities like the farmer's market, the community bake over, or cooking together. So far, I have participated as a conversation partner three times, and each time has been a lot of fun. I hope someday soon to be reunited with the three good friends I have made through MASSIE. 


Maggie MacPhee

MaggieThe MASSIE program will always be one of the highlights of my time at Mount Allison University. One of the most obvious benefits of the program is making new friends. It might sound cheesy but it is very true. Spending an hour a week talking to someone and getting to know them is an excellent way to make a lifelong friend. 

In sharing Canadian culture with them, you get to re-experience some of it yourself and appreciate the things that make Canada unique. I enjoyed learning about Japanese culture as well, even little things. For example, at some point in the semester I learned that the place where my conversation partner came from in Japan is exactly 12 hours time difference from Sackville. 

When I was spending time with my conversation partner each week I got to see her English improve, which was fun and satisfying and only made it easier to grow closer with one another. It is really great to help someone else learn how to do something, especially when all you have to do is talk to them and spend time with them. I would encourage anyone to be a conversation partner because making a new friend and spending time with them is something everyone should do.


Zoe Cober

ZoeI have been volunteering as a MASSIE conversation partner since the summer before I started my first year at MTA. Getting to know my conversation partner as well as many of the others during each semester has been a very rewarding experience. At Mount Allison, I major in Asian Studies with a large focus on Japan, but I still have learned so many new things about Japanese culture and language from being involved in the MASSIE program! I have made some great friends over my years as a conversation partner and they have all taught me valuable lessons that I will remember as I pursue my own studies and goals. 

From my involvement with the MASSIE students, I have always been impressed with how hard they work. They come into another country very different from their own, and not only do they adapt, but they also learn to thrive. Every semester when a new program begins I always see the same thing: they students are nervous, shy and don’t have very much confidence in themselves. But by the end of the program, I always see huge amounts of growth: the students give speeches and interact with people in English daily. 

I learned from working with them that it takes a lot of courage to study abroad in a country where very few people speak your language, but the courage these students show as the keep trying and learning new things has encouraged me to work with them again and again each semester. Becoming a MASSIE Conversation Partner has taught me a lot of lessons about perseverance and courage, but it has also taught me a bit more about my own culture and traditions. I look forward to working with them again in the near future!