UT Tyler

Intensive English Language Institute

Study Buddy Program


The Study Buddy Program was created to provide opportunities for UT Tyler students to have first-hand experiences with English Language Learners (ELL's) in their studies, as well as allow ELL's enrolled in UT Tyler's Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) opportunities to learn and understand the English language and American culture through real-world, one-on-one conversations and interactions with English speakers. 

The IELI offers community service and/or credit-based options for UT Tyler students that participate in the Study Buddy Program.

Benefits of Study Buddies

The IELI believes both "buddies" can benefit from participating in the Study Buddy Program.

American students, beyond helping ELL's with their English, are able to make new friends, learn about new cultures, social customs, and perspectives. Investing time, even a few hours a week, can greatly impact an ELL's time in America and leave a lasting impression, and will help them adjust to a place that is often very different from their home country. UT Tyler students can earn 1-2 credits by participating, if they are enrolled in EDUC 4199 - 002 (one credit option) or EDUC 4299 - 001 (two credit option). HONORS students, or students needing a community service project, also benefit from being involved. Volunteer work like this can also be added to your resume!

International students can practice English, ask questions about American culture, politics, customs, and habits, meet new people and build new friendships, discover new and exciting local spots to shop and dine, and of course, obtain help with studies and gain insight into American college life. It is one more form of preparation for the next step AFTER graduating from the IELI as they move on to undergraduate and graduate studies. 

How to Participate

Simply complete the appropriate application below under "Sign Up!". You'll receive a welcome email and will be matched with a buddy as soon as possible. Please allow 1-2 weeks to be matched, as we try to pair Buddies based on gender, hobbies, interests, and availability. 

Once matched, both participants will need to visit the Intensive English Language Institute main office (number 2 on the campus map) to sign a Commitment Form. The Commitment Form restates the Guidelines listed below for American students and IELI students.

American students participating for class requirements and/or credit hours, email ieli@uttyler.edu to set up an appointment at the Intensive English Language Institute to complete an internship form. You'll be provided with additional instructions at that time, and will also be able to set up a schedule to sit in on classes and meet the students. 

Sign up!  Applications and Guidelines

Local/American students - Apply here

  • You must plan to remain in the program for at least one semester (if for credit) or 8 weeks (if volunteering).
  • You must plan to work on homework and academics with your buddy on a regular basis depending on the schedule that you submit. Help them become stronger in areas they have the most difficulty.
  • You are encouraged to take your Buddy on at least one cultural experience that you both agree on (this can be the fair, a campus event, new dining establishment, free sporting event, hike, a volunteer or service event, etc.).
  • Be open to a new perspective and to the cultural differences that will exist between you and your buddy.
  • Respect the culture, customs, values, and beliefs of your buddy.

IELI Students - Apply here

  • You must be currently enrolled and in good status in the IELI Program.
  • You must plan to remain in the program for a full semester. If you are planning to be enrolled for only one (1) eight week session, you may still apply and your application will still be considered based on availability of buddies.
  • Communicate to your buddy where you struggle most academically. Be ready to discuss, ask questions, and receive academic help from your buddy. Overall English language improvement is the primary goal!
  • Be open to a new perspective and to the cultural differences that may exist between you and your buddy.
  • Respect the culture, customs, values, and beliefs of your buddy.

Meeting Places

Study Buddies are welcome to use the IELI computer lab or annex Monday - Friday until 5 p.m. to meet, but we encourage preliminary meetings on the UT Tyler main campus, and some later meetings/events around Tyler. 

Suggestions:  Try local coffee/tea shops, visit the zoo or one of Tyler's many parks, or even a trip to a grocery store or Asian/Mexican/World market. Any location that can spur conversation and a learning experience will be helpful! 

Time Reporting

All participants are required to log their study buddy time. This provides accountability for UT Tyler students participating for credit, and verifies that all students are fulfilling their commitments to the Study Buddy Program. 

Please access the time reporting log here


If you would like more information or have any questions or concerns about the Study Buddy Program, please contact Rachel at ieli@uttyler.edu.

UT Tyler