Language Direct is a free peer tutoring program for foreign language learners at Penn. It consists of a network of peer tutors, supervised by PLC staff and language program directors, who assist foreign language students one-on-one or in small groups. Sessions may take place either in person or online.
If you are seeking a tutor...
You must be enrolled in a Penn course in the target language. Due to limited resources, priority is given to students who are at the elementary or intermediate level. Advanced students who would like a tutor must have their instructors email email@example.com to confirm their need for a tutor.
To request a tutor, please fill out this online form.
If you would like to become a tutor...
You must be an undergraduate student at Penn with advanced proficiency in the target language. Graduate students are sometimes considered for less commonly taught languages. Work-study is preferred but not required. The position offers flexible hours and location. Potential tutors must have at least 5 hours of availability per week, and their skills will be vetted by their respective language program directors.
To apply, please fill out this online form. PLC reviews applications beginning in August each year, and training takes place in late September.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 provided upon request. Please contact us for more information.
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.
Yes, Language Direct is free to all students who are eligible. The tutors are paid by Penn Language Center.
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.
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.
For one-on-one meetings or small group meetings, tutoring takes place at a mutually agreeable location determined by the tutor and the student(s). We advise our tutors to only meet with their students in safe, public spaces such as the library, Houston Hall, a café, etc.
We always encourage language learning, but due to limited resources, Language Direct can only support students in their current coursework.
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.
No. Tutors must meet with their students in real time before they work asynchronously. By meeting with you person or via Zoom, our tutors can better assess your language skills and your needs. Our tutors are also prohibited from simply “editing” papers. Rather, they are advised to make general comments and suggestions for improving written work.
The amount of time you can expect to spend with a tutor largely depends on your needs. As a general guideline, students are limited to two hours per week of free PLC tutoring.