Intercultural Conversation Starters

  1. Bring your Grammar or integrated language book and practice from the exercises in it.

  2. Bring pictures/magazines/articles to discuss.
  3. Have a topic a week to focus on based on culture and/or current events. Possible topics:
    1. Foods, fasting practices across cultures, and for special holidays (Ramadan, Eid, etc.): family and the social significance of food
    2. My family, my identity
    3. Friendships and the importance of Facebook in my culture
    4. TV shows that I enjoy and that reflect and influence my culture
    5. Humor in my culture
    6. Popular films in the last year
    7. Songs of my generation
    8. A poem that is meaningful to me
    9. What’s new in the news?
    10. Sports activities on campus and off
    11. Books that “everyone” is reading/should read these days
    12. “In places” to hang out and chill out: on and off campus
    13. Cultural activities that are going on: theater, art, concerts, etc.
    14. Driving and traffic in Cairo and in other cultures
    15. Health issues: avian flu, swine flu, etc.
    16. Preserving the environment in and around AUC/in my culture
    17. The latest technology for communication: Twitter, blogs, etc.

Conversation Starters using New York Times articles: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/parents/conversation/index.html

Other Topics for Conversation from http://www.eslgold.com/speaking/topics_for_conversation.html

The following Topics for Conversation are just a small sample of the over 800 topics from the game, Roll Play, by Dymon Publications.

What would you do if you were late for an important appointment?
What would you do if someone accused you of a crime you didn't commit?
What would you do if you got lost in an unfamiliar city?
What would you do if you left something in a locked building?
What would you do if your best friend stole something from you?
What would you do if you didn't have enough money to pay your bills?
What would you do if your children were caught shoplifting?
What would you do if your car got a flat tire on the freeway?
If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

If you could change one major historical event, what would it be?

Someone asks you a question you do not want to answer. What do you say?
You need to borrow some money from a friend. What do you say?
You broke your sister's favorite vase. What do you say?
You forgot your mother's birthday. What do you say when you see her?
You want to buy an item located behind the cashier. What do you say?
You arrive late to a meeting because you couldn't get a taxi. What do you say?
Your friend "wiped out" while skiing and looks hurt. What do you say?
The man in the seat next to you is smoking. What do you say?
Your child is playing with matches. What do you say?
You need more time to finish an exam. What do you say to the teacher?

Describe a famous park or recreation area in your home country.
Describe an interesting neighbor you have had.
Describe something you could never give away.
Describe a place you will never forget.
Describe a sporting event you attended recently.
Describe a memorable birthday celebration.
Describe a place you go for recreation or exercise.
Describe your childhood home.
Describe someone you respect deeply.
Describe the nightlife in a city you are familiar with.

Tell about a recent interview.
Tell about a time when you lost something.
Tell about one of your fondest childhood memories.
Tell about a time when you lied to your parents, boss, or teacher.
Tell about a time when you were treated unfairly.
Briefly tell about a movie you saw recently.
Tell about something you made "from scratch."
Tell about a "close call" you had recently.
Tell about something you wish had never happened.
Tell about a time when you inadvertently caused trouble for someone else.

What is your opinion about cellular phones?
What is your opinion about women in the military?
What is your opinion about a current politician?
What is your opinion about violence on television?
What is your opinion about fortune telling?
What is your opinion about the tabloids?
What is your opinion about legalizing marijuana?
What is your opinion about the welfare system?
What is your opinion about cloning?
What is your opinion about recycling?

Tell how to find something on the Internet.
Tell how to feed family members who drop by unexpectedly.
Tell how to dump a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Tell how to get from your house to the supermarket.
Tell what to do in an earthquake.
Tell how to get someone to fall in love with you.
Tell how to make a paper airplane.
Tell how to get a good table at a restaurant.
Tell how to get a discount on an expensive item.
Tell how to discipline an unruly child.