BOULDER, Colo. — A Boulder nonprofit is looking for volunteers who can help other adults learn English. Intercambio, which means “exchange” in Spanish, matches tutors with students for weekly conversations.
Volunteers don’t have to know any other language, because the purpose is to help students practice their English.
“I do have a desire to learn Spanish, but we don't do that in this class — that's not what it's about,” said volunteer Tom Miller.
He tutors a man from Peru who needs to learn English for his job as an Uber driver.
Miller said part of the appeal is learning about different cultures. When he and his student meet, they mostly talk about their lives.
“Whenever we get together, it's not just what the homework was, but let's talk about what happened this week,” Miller said.
Intercambio provides support for volunteers and a curriculum through a program called CC English.
Student Elizabeth Morales is from Venezuela but wants to work in the United States. She said the program has given her more confidence.
“English, for me, was so hard because I am a perfectionist,” she said.
Through Intercambio, Morales learned that the most important thing is to talk as much as possible. Since the pandemic, many tutors and students meet virtually, and are able to chat from anywhere in the world.
For Miller, the program has helped him appreciate the courage of immigrants, and to understand we’re more alike than different.
“It’s an opportunity to really appreciate what it's like for somebody to have to come to a country where they don't know the culture or the language and find a way through it,” he said.