Language Direct Frequently Asked Questions

What is Language Direct?

Language Direct is Penn Language Center’s free peer-tutoring program in foreign languages, committed to high educational standards. We deliver tutoring and online instructional tools to help Penn students excel in their foreign language studies. 


What languages are available?
Available languages change with each academic year to tailor students' needs, but the following languages are typically offered:

American Sign Language

Tutoring in other languages may be available.  Please contact us for more information.


Who is eligible to request a tutor?
Language Direct is available only to Penn students, undergraduate or graduate, who are currently enrolled in a course in the target language. Students who are not eligible for this service but would like help finding a tutor should contact PLC directly.


Is Language Direct free?
Yes, Language Direct is free to all students who are eligible.  The tutors are paid by Penn Language Center. 


Who are the tutors?
Our Language Direct tutors are a diverse group of Penn students.  Some are native speakers or heritage speakers, while others reached foreign language proficiency through their coursework at Penn or elsewhere.  Most, but not all, are undergraduates.


How do I request a tutor?
Click here for the Language Direct Tutor Request form.


How long does it take to get a tutor?
Please allow yourself at least three business days to set up a meeting with a tutor.  This gives Penn Language Center time to forward your request to the next available tutor, for the tutor to contact you, and to then set up a meeting.  Requests for tutoring are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. During busy periods such as midterms and finals, please take into consideration that our tutors may not be as readily available.


When is Language Direct available?
The Language Direct progam follows the Penn academic calendar and is only available during the Fall and Spring semesters. Tutoring sessions can be scheduled at any time that is convenient for both the tutor and student. 


Where does tutoring take place?
For one-on-one meetings, tutoring takes place at a mutually agreeable location determined by the tutor and the student.  We advise our tutors to only meet with their students in safe, public spaces such as the library, Houston Hall, a café, etc.


I want to learn Chinese/Spanish/other language, but I don’t have time in my schedule to take a class.  Can I get a tutor?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.  Language Direct is a program intended to support foreign language students in their current coursework.


I'm enrolled in a language course, and I want extra conversation practice. Can I get a tutor?
Yes, but students who want extra conversation practice are encouraged to seek out other campus groups and activities such as Gregory House College or ELP's Conversation Partners Program. where conversation can occur in a more natural setting. In addition, our tutors are asked to give priority to those who are truly in need of extra help.


I have a paper due tomorrow.  Can I email it to you for editing?

No.  We recommend our tutors to meet with their students in person before allowing them to work together online.  By meeting with you person, our tutors can better assess your language skills and your needs.  Our tutors are also discouraged from simply “editing” papers for students.  Rather, they are advised to make general comments and suggestions for improving written work. 


How much time should I expect to spend with a language tutor?
The amount of time you should expect to spend with a tutor largely depends on your needs. Students are limited to two hours per week to meet with their tutors.