FAQs for Students
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?
You can practice English with us as long as you want! At a minimum, it takes about 3 months for students to see improvement, so we hope you can commit to at least that period of time.
When do sessions usually happen?
Our sessions usually happen in the evening Ukrainian time to accommodate for time zone differences with the US. Many sessions happen on weekends because volunteers are busy with school during the week. We try to 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 and your volunteer’s preferences, you might just talk - about music, politics, fitness, 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!
I am younger than 13. Can I sign up for your program?
Unfortunately, no. We are a peer-to-peer program. This means that we match students and volunteers by age. We do not have volunteers for students younger than 13 years old.
I am older than 22. Can I sign up for your program?
Unfortunately, no. We are a peer-to-peer program. This means that we match students and volunteers by age. We do not have volunteers for students older than 22 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.
Are all of your volunteers from the United States?
Most of our volunteers (80%) live in America. We also have volunteers from other countries - England, India, Canada, etc. Finally, about 8% of our volunteers are fluent English speakers living in Ukraine.
We usually match students to a Ukrainian volunteer if their English is not advanced enough to communicate easily with a volunteer who doesn’t speak Ukrainian or Russian, or if their schedule does not fit with the time zone difference with the US.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
You can 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 was put on the waitlist. How long will I have to wait?
Anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. We have been taking many students off our waitlist recently as we get more older volunteers. We will email you as soon as we find a suitable match for you.
I am not sure of the status of my application. What should I do?
You can email us at email@example.com 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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.
Can I change my volunteer?
We will rematch students and volunteers for legitimate reasons. For example, the volunteer is too busy to meet each week and has been skipping many sessions. Or, the volunteer 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 leave your email 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 age, English level, interests, etc?
Right now, any student can sign up for any group session, so you will have a mix of ages and English levels in your group. We have tried organizing different sessions for different types of students, but it was too complex logistically for us right now. 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.