Silver Language Partners

Justin Leider, Yasmine Li, and Ling DingThe Silver Language Partners program pairs native and non-native English speaking MSW students to foster cross-cultural friendships and boost the latter's conversational English skills. The pairs get together at least 10 times during the academic year to engage in casual conversation while doing activities like going to museums, taking dance classes, eating meals, or exploring the city.

Justin Leider, MSW '20, Yasmine Li, MSW '20 and Ling Ding, MSW '21, have been Silver Language Partners since fall 2019. Justin and Yasmine shared their reflections on the experience.

What motivated you to participate in Silver Language Partners?

Justin: I was born and raised in New York/New Jersey. I greatly enjoy getting to know people from outside the U.S. I also love conversations about language, and I am always looking to make connections with people I might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

Yasmine: I was a participant in the Silver Language Partner Program last year and had a meaningful and eye-opening time, which drove me to this year’s experience. Besides, I always love to have conversations about culture and language, as well as making connections with peers who have a different background from me, hearing from their perspectives.

What has been your favorite activity with your partner and why?

Justin: Talking in the student lounge at Silver is the bulk of what we do, so I would have to say talking! Today we are attending a peer support meeting, and I look forward to listening to and speaking with my language partners in that context.

Yasmine: Talking, talking, talking! We don’t usually have an official agenda before we meet. What we normally do is meet up and see where the group dynamic takes us. 

How has participating in Silver Language Partners improved your experience at NYU Silver and, if applicable, in NYC in general?

Justin: Participating in Silver Language Partners has given me great insight into the life of an international student, and it's enhanced our collective multicultural lens through the most meaningful method of all: personal connection.

Yasmine: Participating in Silver Language Partners has inspired me to delve deeper into the culture, to learn from other people, and to make connections.

Is there any way in which participating in Silver Language Partners has exceeded your expectations and if so, how?

Justin: I didn't expect to have two partners! I love the group dynamic.

Yasmine: Same!

Is there any advice you would like to share with people considering participating in Silver Language Partners?

Justin: If you can make the time, it's a terrific opportunity! I look forward to our weekly meetings and see great value in building relationships with students whom you may not otherwise have the chance to know. Meet at a consistent time and place if possible. Be open to where conversations can take you, and check in with each other before, during, and after conversations.

Yasmine: Be open, be punctual, practice cultural humility, respect differences, and then, enjoy!