FAQs for Students

PROGRAM DETAILS

Is ENGin really free?

Yes, ENGin is a nonprofit organization. We work with volunteers who are fluent in English and conduct free speaking sessions. There are no costs to participate in ENGin.

How long does the program last?

We ask for a minimum 3 month commitment - this is how long it takes to see real improvement in your English. After that, you can practice English with us as long as you want! 

When do sessions usually happen?

Our sessions usually happen in the evening Ukrainian time to accommodate for time zone differences. Many sessions happen on weekends because volunteers are busy during the week. We match you with volunteers who are available at the same times you indicate on your application form. Exact session times are determined directly with your volunteer.

 

What happens during the speaking sessions?

We ask our volunteers to prepare speaking topics or activities for each week’s sessions. Depending on your English level, you might just talk - about music, politics, work, school, or anything else on your mind. Or, your volunteer might introduce different activities and language games - role plays, watching and discussing videos, etc.

Your volunteer is responsible for determining what to do in sessions - but you can always make suggestions and requests for what to focus on!

Are all of your volunteers from the United States? Can I request a volunteer from the US?

While many of our volunteers live in America, we have volunteers from 80+ different countries. A few of our volunteers are fluent English speakers living in Ukraine.

 

If you are a beginner student, we might match you to a Ukrainian volunteer for the first few months to help you get comfortable speaking in English. Otherwise, you will be matched to a volunteer living outside Ukraine. You cannot request a volunteer from a specific country.

 

I am Ukrainian, but do not live in Ukraine. Can I sign up for your program?

If you have left Ukraine after February 24 to escape the war, you are eligible for our program. If you emigrated before the war on a permanent basis, you are not eligible for the program.  

I am younger than 13. Can I sign up for your program?

Unfortunately, no. US privacy laws make it impossible for us to work with students under age 13 online.

I am older than 35. Can I sign up for your program?

Unfortunately, no. At this time, we do not have enough volunteers to accommodate students older than 35 years old.

Do I need to use videochat? Can we just speak by phone?

Yes - to make sure sessions are effective and safe, we ask participants to have their video on.

Can you add Spanish to the ENGin program? (Or French or German or Japanese or…?)

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to add multiple languages to the program now, so we're focusing on English. English fluency unlocks the largest knowledge base and the most opportunities - online courses, top universities, useful books, good jobs. Though other languages are also valuable, English is the most universal language - the language that will connect you to a global conversation in any field.

If you are interested in creating your own program focusing on a different language, we are happy to share what we’ve learned about building a successful peer-to-peer speaking practice program. Email us info@enginprogram.org for a guide.

 

Will my volunteer be a native speaker?

We have a diverse group of volunteers and we don't know who is a native speaker and who isn't. Some volunteers immigrated to the US as children, but speak flawless English. Others were born in the US but have regional accents. We even have volunteers who live outside the US but are native English speakers.

 

We do interview every volunteer to make sure they are fluent in English, so you can be confident you will not be practicing with another English learner :)

APPLICATION INTERVIEW

I’m trying to schedule an interview but don’t see any timeslots that work for me. What can I do?
We are really sorry about the inconvenience! We try to have many options in our calendar each week, but sometimes many people sign up and we run out. Just email us at info@enginprogram.org and we will add more timeslots to accommodate you. 

 

I can’t make it to my scheduled interview. Can I reschedule or cancel?
Yes, you can reschedule or cancel your interview. Please click the “Reschedule” or “Cancel” buttons in the interview confirmation email. They are on the bottom of the email. Please be sure to cancel ahead of time so we can use the interview timeslot for someone else!

 

I accidentally missed my interview. What can I do?
You can reschedule your interview here: https://calendly.com/enginprogram/interview.

Please note, if you keep signing up for interviews and then missing them, you may be prohibited from participating in the program.  

 

My interviewer canceled or didn’t show up to our interview. What should I do?
Our interviewers try their best to attend every interview, but sometimes they need to cancel due to a last-minute emergency. You can schedule a new interview here: https://calendly.com/enginprogram/interview.

 

Please also email us to let us know so we can check with your interviewer and try to make sure this doesn’t happen again! 

 

I completed an interview with an ENGin team member, but I did not get a decision. What should I do?
Decision letters should arrive within 2 days of your interview. If you do not receive one, check your spam folder. If you still don’t see it, please email us and let us know. 

GETTING MATCHED TO A VOLUNTEER

When will I be matched to my volunteer?
To be matched to a volunteer, you need to complete an interview with us, receive an acceptance email, and sign our program agreement. Once you finish these steps, we try to match you with a volunteer within 2 weeks. 

 

Unfortunately, we are not always able to find a volunteer who is a good match right away, especially if you have very specific preferences OR if you are age 19 or older. Right now, most of our volunteers are younger than 18 and prefer to volunteer with younger students. We are doing our best to find more older volunteers to work with you very soon!

I am not sure of the status of my application. What should I do?
You can email us at info@enginprogram.org to check. If it has been less than 2 weeks since you signed the agreement, we are probably still looking for a match for you.

I just received my match email. What do I do next?
Your speaking buddy should contact you by email to find a date for your first session. Please check your email regularly and respond right away.  If your buddy doesn’t email you, you can also email them. 

 

I don’t check my email a lot. Can you message me on Telegram or Facebook?

ENGin communicates with students by email, so you should check your email regularly for messages from us.

 

You and your buddy can decide on a different way to communicate. For example - Instagram messages, Skype, Google chat, WhatsApp, or whatever you both prefer.

TROUBLE WITH A VOLUNTEER

Can I ask to be rematched to another volunteer?

It depends on why you are asking and how long you've been matched.

You cannot request a rematch because you don't like your buddy's nationality or accent. This is discrimination, and it is illegal in the US. We guarantee that your volunteer will be fully fluent in English, but we cannot guarantee what they will look or sound like.

 

Most of our volunteers live in the US, but we also have volunteers from 80+ other countries. Some volunteers were born in America and now live in another country. Some were born in another country but now live in America. Many of our volunteers are Asian-American, Hispanic, Black, or multiracial. Many grow up speaking 2 or 3 languages themselves. Also, there is not one "correct" accent. Even in America, a volunteer from Texas or Louisiana will sound different than a volunteer from New Jersey or California. Meeting and learning from different people is an important part of this program.

If your volunteer breaks program rules more than once, you may ask for a rematch. For example: repeated cancellations (without offering to reschedule), repeated no-shows, ignoring messages for weeks, not preparing for sessions, or inappropriate behavior.

When you report a problem with a volunteer, we will investigate with the volunteer and try to fix it.

* If the volunteer has disappeared or cannot fix the problem, we will rematch immediately.

* If the volunteer promises to improve their behavior, we will keep the match. If the problem continues, you can write to us again and we will rematch.

After 6 months together, either buddy may ask for a rematch without any problems, just to try talking to someone new. 

If you are paired with a Ukrainian volunteer, you may ask for a rematch to a volunteer outside Ukraine after 3 months. 

 

My volunteer isn’t responding to my messages. What can I do?

Text/email your volunteer again and wait for a few days. If your volunteer doesn’t respond, email us at info@enginprogram.org.

 

My volunteer and I can’t find a time that works for our sessions. What should we do?

Please try to be flexible with your schedule. Remember, your volunteer is donating their time to help you learn! Most of our volunteers are available only in the evenings Ukrainian time, and many are only available on weekends. If you can’t resolve your scheduling difficulties, please email us at info@enginprogram.org.

My volunteer doesn’t seem to enjoy speaking with me. Can you help?

It usually takes some time for students and volunteers to become comfortable with each other. Also, cultural differences are real - you might be misinterpreting your volunteer’s comments or body language. Please, wait a few sessions. Try different activities and speaking topics, and get to know each other. If things haven’t improved after 4-5 sessions, email us at info@enginprogram.org and we can help.

 

What can I do if my volunteer is too busy to have sessions every week?

Message your volunteer and remind them that you would like to have an hour of practice each week. If they need to cancel a session, you can ask them to reschedule (for example, miss a session one week and have two sessions the next week). If your volunteer is still not able to provide you the required 1 hour of practice each week, email us at info@enginprogram.org and we can help.

I want more practice. Can I have a second volunteer?

Unfortunately, no. At this time we are only assigning one volunteer to each student to be fair to all students.

GROUP SESSIONS

What are ENGin group sessions? How do they work?
Our group sessions are open to any ENGin student who wants extra English practice. Group sessions are 1 hour long. Each includes three 20-minute activities completed in a small group of students (usually 4-7 people) with one ENGin volunteer. 

Each week, we plan a new session and repeat it 4-6 times to give everyone a chance to join.

 

How do I sign up for group sessions? Do I need to prepare for the session ahead of time?
All signups for group sessions are done via Calendly (click here). You can sign up anytime. You must attend the session if you sign up. You should check the instructions in this document for any pre-session preparation.

 

If you click on the link and don’t see any available dates, it means all sessions are full. We add new dates and times every week. If you want us to email you when new dates are added to the calendar, please check our Telegram channel here.

What if I sign up for a session, but can’t attend?
We have limited spots for sessions, so it is very important to attend every session you sign up for. It is not fair to other students to skip a session you signed up for.

Any student who misses more than 3 sessions will not be allowed to participate in any more group sessions.

 

Do I have to use my webcam?
Group sessions are designed for active participation. We ask all students to have their webcams on and be ready to speak and listen. If you have your webcam off or remain muted and don’t participate, your volunteer may ask you to leave the session.

 

Can I attend more than one session per week?
Because all sessions scheduled in the same week will be identical, we encourage you to attend just one session per week.

 

Can ENGin organize group sessions by English level, interests, etc?

We have tried organizing different sessions for different types of students, but it was too complex logistically. We hope to do this in the future.

 

Can volunteers choose their own topics or activities for group sessions?
We used to give volunteers this option, but almost all volunteers asked ENGin to provide activities. So now, we have a standard set of activities each week that all volunteers will use. This makes sure all students get the same experience and volunteers don’t struggle to come up with new activities.

LEAVING THE PROGRAM

How can I leave the program?
Please email us at info@enginprogram.org at least two weeks before you’d like to leave. This gives us enough time to find your volunteer another student.

How can I join the program again after leaving?
Email us and we’ll get you started again. You may not be able to work with the same volunteer as you had before. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

FAQs for Volunteers

 
 

PROGRAM DETAILS

Can I get community service hours for my time at ENGin? How do I do that?
Yes, ENGin is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and we're able to sign school forms or provide a standard ENGin form to ensure that you get credit for your hours volunteering with us.

To get any kind of form or certification, you should make a copy of this template and keep track of your volunteering hours. When you are ready for us to verify your hours, fill out this form.

How long does the program last?
You can volunteer with us as long as you want! At a minimum, it takes about 3 months for students to see improvement, so we ask you to commit to at least that period of time. 

Why does ENGin operate in Ukraine? Are you planning to expand to other countries?
Ukraine ranks 30th of 34 European countries in English proficiency, even though most students study English in school. Ukrainian schools often focus on grammar and vocabulary, and students have few opportunities to actually speak English. At the same time, spoken English fluency is essential for many academic and professional opportunities - particularly now, with the job market in flux due to the war and many Ukrainians displaced. By helping Ukrainian students learn to speak fluently, we can have a huge impact, truly changing their life trajectories.

 

But we're also working to move beyond individual impact and use our program to transform an entire country. One day, we hope to serve 100,000 students in Ukraine. This will create a critical mass of young Ukrainians who can speak English fluently and are connected to their peers across the globe. This will create a "new normal" in Ukraine, accelerating economic development and connecting Ukraine to the global conversation in business, science, culture, and beyond. We want to transform Ukraine into a country like Norway or the Netherlands, which are already reaping the benefits of widespread English fluency.

 

Because our mission is countrywide change, we are focusing our resources on reaching as many Ukrainian students as we can. 

 

What are ENGin students like?
Our students are from all over Ukraine. Some live in cities, others in small towns. Some have evacuated outside Ukraine. All have some prior experience studying English, but we have a wide range of levels.

 

When do sessions usually happen?
Many sessions happen on weekends because volunteers are busy during the week. Some sessions happen on weekdays, in the afternoon and evening Ukraine time.

 

If you are located in North or South America, please note that Ukraine is 7-10 hours ahead of your time zone, so you will need to schedule sessions in the first half of the day (otherwise, students will be asleep!)

 

If you are located in Asia, Ukraine is several hours behind. And if you're in Europe, time zone differences will be minimal, so we will be able to find a student to accommodate almost any schedule!

 

We match you with students who are available at the same times you indicate on your application form. Exact session times are determined directly with your student. 

What happens during the speaking sessions? Do you provide any resources for volunteers?
Volunteers are responsible for leading each session and deciding what to do. We provide many resources and activity ideas for you to choose from. Check out the session plans in our volunteer handbook. You can use these as is or adapt them for your student. 

If your student’s English is more advanced, you may choose a less structured approach, especially once you get comfortable with each other. Some of our volunteers simply let the conversation flow, covering topics from music to politics to travel. 

 

You are responsible for determining what to do in sessions - but you can always ask your student to make suggestions and requests for what to focus on! 

I am younger than 14. Can I volunteer with ENGin?
Unfortunately, no. 14 is currently our minimum age! 

Do I need to use videochat? Can we just speak by phone?
Yes - to make sure sessions are effective and safe, we ask participants to have their video on. 

APPLICATION INTERVIEW

I’m trying to schedule an interview but don’t see any timeslots that work for me. What can I do?
We are really sorry about the inconvenience! We try to have many options in our calendar each week, but sometimes many people sign up and we run out. Just email us at info@enginprogram.org and we will add more timeslots to accommodate you. 

 

I can’t make it to my scheduled interview. Can I reschedule or cancel?
Yes, you can reschedule or cancel your interview. Please click the “Reschedule” or “Cancel” buttons in the interview confirmation email. They are on the bottom of the email. Please be sure to cancel ahead of time so we can use the interview timeslot for someone else!

 

I accidentally missed my interview. What can I do?
You can reschedule your interview here: https://calendly.com/enginprogram/interview.

Please note, if you keep signing up for interviews and then missing them, you may be prohibited from participating in the program.  

 

My interviewer canceled or didn’t show up to our interview. What should I do?
Our interviewers try their best to attend every interview, but sometimes they need to cancel due to a last-minute emergency. You can schedule a new interview here: https://calendly.com/enginprogram/interview.

 

Please also email us to let us know so we can check with your interviewer and try to make sure this doesn’t happen again! 

 

I completed an interview with an ENGin team member, but I did not get a decision. What should I do?
Decision letters should arrive within 2 days of your interview. If you do not receive one, check your spam folder. If you still don’t see it, please email us and let us know. 

GETTING MATCHED TO A STUDENT​

When will I be matched to my student?
To be matched to a student, you need to complete an interview with us, receive an acceptance email, sign our program agreement, and complete a volunteer training and quiz. Once you finish these steps, we try to match you with a student within 2 weeks. 

 

Unfortunately, we are not always able to find a student who is a good match right away, especially if you have very specific preferences. However, we are doing our best to find the right students for you! 

I am not sure of the status of my application. What should I do?
You can email us at info@enginprogram.org to check. If it has been less than 2 weeks since you signed the agreement, we are probably still looking for a match for you.

I just received my match email. What do I do next?
You should contact your student right away to find a date for your first session. 

I don’t check my email a lot. Do we have to communicate by email?
You and your buddy can decide on a different way to communicate. For example - Instagram messages, Skype, Google chat, WhatsApp, or whatever you both prefer. 
ENGin communicates with volunteers by email, so you should check your email regularly for messages from us. 

TROUBLE WITH A STUDENT

My student isn’t responding to my messages. What can I do?
Text/email your student again and wait for a few days. If your student doesn’t respond, email us at info@enginprogram.org. 

 

My student and I can’t find a time that works for our sessions. What should we do?
Please try to offer times that are convenient for the Ukrainian time zone (i.e. not too late at night). If you are offering different options but your student can’t make any of them work, please email us at info@enginprogram.org. 

My student doesn’t seem to enjoy speaking with me. Can you help?
It usually takes some time for students and volunteers to become comfortable with each other. Many students do not have experience speaking to strangers online in English, so they are a bit shy and might come off as unfriendly. Also, cultural differences are real - you might be misinterpreting your student’s comments or body language.

 

Please, wait a few sessions. Try different activities and speaking topics, and get to know each other. If things haven’t improved after 4-5 sessions, email us at info@enginprogram.org and we can help.  

My student keeps canceling or missing our sessions. What should I do?
Check out the tips in the video on the bottom of this page: https://www.enginprogram.org/practical-information. If you continue to have trouble, please email us at info@enginprogram.org and we can help. 

 

ADDING, DROPPING, OR CHANGING YOUR STUDENT

Can I start working with an additional student?

Yes! You just need to email us at info@enginprogram.org with your request.

 

Can I drop one of my students?

Yes, you can. Please email us two weeks in advance to give us time to find a new volunteer for your student.

 

Can I get matched to a different student?

We will rematch students and volunteers for legitimate reasons. For example, the student has been skipping many sessions. Or, the volunteer's and the student’s schedules changed and they can’t find a mutual time despite both trying their best.

LEAVING THE PROGRAM

How can I leave the program?
Please email us at info@enginprogram.org at least two weeks before you’d like to leave. This gives us enough time to find your student another volunteer.

How can I join the program again after leaving?
Email us and we’ll get you started again. You may not be able to work with the same student as you had before.