The Conversation Corps is one of GeoVisions' most popular programs. As the name implies, communication plays a big role in the success of the program. As an admissions counselor, I talk to hundreds of people interested in joining the Corps. One of the most frequently asked questions I encounter is, "Do I have to know the language of the host country to participate"?
Technically, you don't need the know the language where you are going to make the program work. In reality, anything you do know about your hosts' language will most certainly help you a lot. Many of the families who request a Conversation Corps tutor have some background in English so most of our tutors can get by with basic communication. However, if you don't have any knowledge of the host county's language, taking a class before you leave or buying a program like Rosetta Stone is recommended. This will allow you to pick up the language faster when you are abroad and make you feel much more comfortable while on the program, especially when you are out and about on your own.
If you have ever studied a foreign language, you probably know that there is only so much you can learn from cramming text books and going through translation. In order to really become fluent, you have to constantly practice.
The greatest benefit the Conversation Corps brings to the families is rather than having to spend time in an English speaking country (which is incredibly expensive and unpractical especially if you have children) GeoVisions brings an English tutor to them, thereby giving the family members the ability to practice with a native speaker, in their own home. And since the Corps is made up of volunteers, the cost to the family is minimal and the results lasting.
The ability to practice a second language is also a big motivator for Corps tutors. Many GeoVisions tutors have a lot of experience in a language and the Conversation Corps is a great, inexpensive way for them to really sharpen their skills. GeoVisions can also assist in finding in-country language classes while on the program. I'm here and always eager to help people through the process!
Here are some links you might find helpful:
http://www.esl-lounge.com (GeoVisions provides Premium Membership to this site when you are accepted into the Corps)