The Five College Center for the Study of World Languages hires Five College native speakers of less-commonly studied languages to work as conversation partners and peer-tutors. This work counts as on-campus employment for international students enrolled at any of the Five Colleges. The work is carried out on the native speaker's home campus, sometimes at the Language Center's main office, and occasionally at other Five College locations.
To be considered for Language Center work, a native speaker should submit an application. Submission of an application puts you on our list of students interested in working for the Language Center's programs or projects. When we have openings in a language, we review all applications on file and contact you for an interview if your application matches the position we need to fill. We will keep your application on file for the entire time you are a student. If your e-mail changes, you should send us your updated contact information.
We regularly hire speakers of African, Middle Eastern, Eurasian, South and Southeast Asian languages, as well as less-commonly studied languages of Europe, the Americas, and elsewhere around the world. Speakers of commonly taught languages offered in regular classroom courses should contact the appropriate language department on their home campus about employment opportunities.
We encourage applications from first-year students. We also encourage applications from students who are native speakers of languages not currently offered by the Center or taught in Five College classrooms. We cannot plan for future additions to our language course offerings unless we know we have local native speakers to participate in the program. Your application may make offerings in a new language possible. For more information about languages of interest, consult the list below.
These positions usually involve only 2-3 hours per week. A student generally works a small number of hours for the Language Center along with other student employment on his/her home campus. Money earned by working for the Language Center does not count toward work study earnings limits on the student's home campus.
These positions are open primarily to students enrolled as regular degree students at one of the five campuses in our consortium: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Each international student is required to have a special work permission form signed by the designated international student advisor on his/her home campus.
GRADUATE STUDENTS: Most conversation partner and peer-tutoring positions go to undergraduates, but we occasionally hire graduate students for these positions and are happy to receive graduate student applications. International graduate students who have full, twenty-hour-per-week assistantships are not eligible to work as conversation partners or tutors during the semester, but they may be eligible to be hired during January term and during the summer. The Language Center occasionally has teaching assistantships available in select languages. Teaching assistantships are advertised through the University of Massachusetts Amherst Graduate School office.
NON-STUDENTS: Most positions are student-only positions. Local native speakers of less-commonly taught languages offered by the Center may submit an application and a resume to be kept on file in case non-student work becomes available.
Types of Positions
Conversation partners are native speakers who meet once a week with individuals or small groups of students for conversation practice. Conversation partners facilitate conversation practice in the language and serve as a living link between the students and the language and culture they are studying. Conversation sections are conducted as much as possible only in the native language of the conversation partner. Conversation partners must be both fluent and literate in the language and must also have a good command of spoken English. Conversation partners are not teachers and do not give grammar lessons or correct homework. Their sole responsibility is to help students practice speaking the language. Conversation partners receive a stipend for their work. Most conversation partners are undergraduates. Occasionally graduate students serve as conversation partners.
Peer-tutors work with students in Independent Plus courses. Peer-tutors help students with pronunciation practice, help students identify and self-correct errors in speech and written homework, and facilitate activities such as dictation and reading aloud. Peer-tutors also help students understand and use idiomatic language or culturally complex expressions. Peer-tutors do not provide answers to homework assignments and do not correct or edit homework. Most peer-tutors are undergraduates; occasionally graduate students serve as peer-tutors.
Materials Develpment Assistants
Materials development assistants help with creation of video, audio, and image materials for use by students learning a particular language. Some assistants also help with transcribing and translating multimedia materials. Assistants must be native-speakers, literate and formally educated in the language. Assistants must also be comfortable with computers and able to learn various software programs. Materials development assistants are often hired for short-term projects both during the semester and during school breaks. Both undergraduate and graduate students serve as materials development assistants.
Possible Languages for Future Courses and Projects
The Center undertakes course and materials development projects in many languages, not only those for which courses are currently offered. Often we cannot plan projects until we know we have one or more qualified native speakers to work on the project. We would be interested in hearing from Five College international students who are native speakers of any of the languages below.
African languages - many listed below, would also like to hear from speakers of African languages not listed below
Arabic (any dialect)
Armenian (Western or Eastern)
Bambara (or Bamana, Mandingo, Mandikan, Maninka, Dyula)
Bangla or Bengali
Cape Verdean Creole
Khmer / Cambodian
Native American languages - any
Russian (especially Russian spoken in the former Soviet republics)
Romanian (or Moldovan)
Twi / Akan