Language Development 

Whether you are looking to brush up on your language skills, improve your knowledge of American culture, or develop your own skills in teaching a language, we can assist you! We offer a variety of language development programs for both domestic and international members of the UCLA community. 

American Culture & Conversation (AC&C) classes and English Language Circle are great opportunities for international students and scholars to improve their conversational fluency in English and understandings of American culture, as well as for domestic students to gain experience teaching English as an additional language. 

Our Language Exchange program will pair you with a native speaker of a language you are hoping to learn or practice. You also get to help teach your own language, so that you both get the chance to help one another. Meetings are informal, one-on-one conversations that happen based on your schedule, making Language Exchange a perfect language learning opportunity for anyone!

Learn more about each of our language development programs below.

Kurnitz Creative Writing Award

Applications for the Kurnitz Creative Writing Award will open on January 28th, 2019 and close March 8th at 11:59pm. 

Kurnitz Award Application

The Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars is proud to present the Kurnitz Creative Writing Award, a UCLA tradition of over 40 years. This unique writing competition is specifically designed to engage the international community here at UCLA. In submitting original pieces, international students are given the opportunity to express their creative talents through writing.

$3,800 in scholarship prize money is allocated to winners!

History of the Award

Harry Kurnitz was a playwright and screenwriter who worked in Hollywood in the 1930’s & 40’s. Along with his own passion for writing, he wanted to create opportunities for young writers, especially those who are not native English speakers. In 1965, Kurnitz and his business manager, Charles Goldring, created an endowment at UCLA for these awards that have given visibility and support to the talents of dozens of UCLA students from majors throughout the campus and countries across the globe. We invite you to be part of this tradition!


To participate, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicant must be foreign-born and not hold U.S. citizenship.

  • Applicant must be a currently enrolled UCLA *international degree seeking student or EAP student on the main campus, who has a valid non-immigrant visa and is eligible to receive monetary awards from a university.

  • The applicants’ native language must not be English, which will be reinforced with a signed affidavit.

*Please note that UCLA Extension students, Visiting Graduate Researchers, UCLA certificate program students, U.S. permanent residents (P.R.), and AB-540 students are ineligible for this award.


Participants may submit multiple entries, but you may only submit ONE in each of the following categories:

Category 1:  

  • Screenplay (maximum 120 pages)

  • Novel (maximum 200 pages)

  • Television Script (maximum 90 pages)

  • Short Play (maximum 50 pages)

Category 2: 

  •  Feature/ Short Story (maximum 1,500 words / approximately 6 pages)

Category 3: 

  • Poetry (entry must include 3 or more poems of any length. Individual poems will not be accepted.


All submissions must be an original work by the participant and the work cannot have been previously published (including online). Participants may only be awarded once during the course of the competition.

Entries must be submitted in English, typed, double spaced, on 8-½” x 11” paper, one side only (the only exception is that poems may be single or double spaced depending on the authors’ artistic preference).

Entries will be coded and distributed to judges without the author's name or identity to ensure fairness.



All entries must be submitted online using the UCLA Scholarship Portal by Friday, March 8 at 11:59 PM. Applicants must fill out all information required on the form. By completing the profile on the portal, you will also be considered for other scholarship opportunities that you may qualify for. Late applications will not be accepted!

Kurnitz Award Application

English Language Circles

English Language Circle

For Winter 2019, English Language Circle will run Week 2 - Week 10.  It will be held on Fridays from 1PM-3PM in the Dashew Center Board Room. All circles are drop in sessions, so there is no registration required. 

Looking for a safe and supportive space to practice your English conversation skills? Come to our weekly English Language Circles! Here you will have an opportunity to practice your English with other language learners. The circle is led by a native English speaker who will help you become more confident in your speaking skills and who can answer any language or grammar questions that you might have. 


Language Exchange 

Applications for Language Exchange Winter 2019 are now closed.  This program will be running again in Spring 2019, stay tuned for more details! 

Trying to learn a new language? Want to take what you're learning in the classroom a step further? The Language Exchange program connects language learners together to improve their conversation skills and meet people from around the world. Language Exchange is open to everyone and all language levels!

Each quarter (starting in Winter 2019), we will pair you with a native speaker of the language you are learning for one-on-one conversations that take place at your leisure and according to your schedule. You also get to help teach your own language, so that you both get the chance to help one another. Spend one hour speaking with your exchange partner in your native language, then one hour speaking in your requested language!

So… how does it work?
  • Apply
    Register online through our website to participate in Language Exchange. Registration for Winter Quarter 2019 is open October 21st - December 2nd, 2018.   
  • Connect
    Meet your Language Exchange Partner at the mandatory Matching Party which will be held on January 8th, 2019 from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm for Winter Quarter. You must attend this event in order to remain in the program.  Please note that there may be long waitlists for certain languages. 
  • Chat
    Meet once a week and spend one hour speaking in your native language and another hour speaking in the language you’re learning. You can pick the time and the location that works for you and your partner! The program is a one-quarter commitment. You will need to apply each quarter if you wish to participate again!

After each quarter, we will be accepting new applications for the following quarter. You may remain with your partner or we will pair you with a new partner.

How Do I Apply?

Applying for Language Exchange is easy! Apply here before December 2nd, 2018.  

*We will do our best to match you with a Language Exchange Partner, but please note that the following language pairs have high demand:

-Chinese speaker requesting an English speaker
-English speaker requesting a Spanish speaker
-English speaker requesting a French speaker

American Culture and Conversation

Our Fall 2018 classes have finished. Please check back next fall for AC&C classes. 

American Culture & Conversation (AC&C) is a series of group sessions offered during the Fall quarter designed for international students and scholars to learn more about American culture while  improving their conversational fluency in English. AC&C will cover topics like slang, idioms, UCLA traditions, social and professional etiquette, romantic relationships, American sports and media, and more! 

The main objective of AC&C is to help students and scholars integrate more quickly into life at UCLA by bolstering their understanding American culture. Improving students' English conversation skills will also come easily through AC&C due to the variety of teaching materials used by instructors -- videos, songs, games, debate, etc. 

*Please note that AC&C is not an English Grammar course. For English as a Second Language (ESL) course please contact UCLA Extension, Kaplan, or Santa Monica Community College. 

Program Information


Classes are two hours long and are held once per week. Fall Quarter classes are held Week 2 - Week 7 of the quarter. 


During the Fall Quarter classes are offered at both intermediate and advanced levels and your level is self-selected, since there are no placement tests for this course. Your instructor will adapt the rigor of the course based on level of the majority of the students enrolled in that class.

    Intermediate Level 

      • This class is for individuals who feel they are at a functional level of English, but regularly struggle with pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. The individual has the opportunity to practice their conversational skills through discussions about social, cultural and international issues.

      Advanced Level 

      • This class is for individuals who feel they are at a high functioning level of English and want to improve their slang and idioms, English pronunciation, as well as practice their conversational skills through in-depth discussions about social, cultural and international issues.


      Class sizes range from 5 to 20 people depending on the class time and academic quarter. The maximum enrollment allowed is 20 people, but the class must have at least 5 people enrolled in order to be held. Classes that have less than 5 people enrolled by the end of the second week are subject to cancellation.

      Classes take place in Bradley International Hall and the Dashew Center Board Room

      Instructors & Curriculum

      AC&C classes are led by volunteers who have a sincere interest in meeting and working with international students. The curriculum is provided by the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars and then presented to the class by the volunteer instructors.

      How to Enroll - Once Registration is Open

      • STEP 1: Once you login to your Dashew Center account, click on “My Account” in the upper right corner of the screen.
      • STEP 2: You will then see a link called “AC&C Registration” on the left side of the screen, click on that link to continue.
      • STEP 3: Once you are on the AC&C section, you will see the “Add a Course” link. Click on that link and select your desired class. 


      The registration fee is as follows: 

      • UCLA Students and Extension Students: FREE
      • Visiting Scholars, Faculty, Dependents: $25 per section

      Add/Drop Deadline: 

      Participants will be allowed to add/drop classes until the end of 2nd week of classes. After the 2nd week of classes rosters will be set for the quarter. Any students who are registered for the course but do not attend any classes during the first two weeks, will be dropped from the course. 

      Questions regarding AC&C?

      Please email