By Jackie Kim
Through my involvement with the American Language Institute’s Conversation Partner program, as well as the Undergraduate Student Consultant/ International Teaching Assistant program, I’ve relearned the merit of having face-to-face conversations. The connection you feel in having another person in front of you and giving you their full attention and thoughts is something that can’t be recreated through any media of technology, and I’m grateful to ALI for reinforcing the importance and necessity of having substantive conversations. Through my conversations, I am able to connect with my conversation partners and my international teaching assistants on a more personable level, making our meeting sessions much more enjoyable. My involvement in these programs has also had the unexpected result of getting to know the USC campus much better, as I often have to hunt for places to meet my ALI partners. Having to do this has been great for me but also productive for my meetings, as both my partners and I enjoy the change of the locations and the natural conversations the differing sceneries produce. Without further ado, here are the list of places I’d recommend for great conversations:
Ground Zero Performance Café: Located conveniently near two of the most popular libraries on campus, Doheny and Leavey Library, so students can grab a quick bite or drink some coffee while studying. The music playing overhead provides an excellent background sound, without being overwhelming. Sometimes when you go (usually at night), you will be blessed with some live music, making the conversation even more interesting as you admire the show together! Although it’s most famous for their milkshakes, the Ground Zero experience is augmented by the rich smell of coffee.
Nekter: As a classic embodiment of Southern California, Nekter’s a perfect place to go to for a refreshing acai bowl or a detoxing juice! Located right next to the architecture school, Nekter is nestled between a white building and some green trees, making it an ideal place for conversation away from the blistering sun. If you’re trying to get a healthy California glow, Nekter is definitely a place to hit!
Engineering quad: Picnic tables and benches surround this scenic quad, which hosts a unique-looking fountain that lights up in different colors at night. The greenery around the quad adds a nice, summery vibe to the quad, which is a classy but monotone grey. The benches are perfect for light picnics and a casual chat, while the picnic tables offer shade from the heat on bright days. This area is super easy to access as it is near Parkside and Cromwell field. When you go during afternoons when the band is practicing, you’ll get a mini music performance as well!
Second or third floor of TCC: This area is not very sought out, because of the limited number of tables and chairs available. However, if you do manage to get a table (tip: avoid meal hours), you’re able to see everyone and everything that is happening in the center of campus, making it a perfect location to people watch, or check out crowded events from above. Because the noise from downstairs is strangely not amplified, it is easy to hold a great conversation about things happening around USC as well!
Featured image by Ken Lund on Flickr
Jackie is a senior double majoring in Business Administration and Economics with a minor in Information Technology Program. She has lived all over the world, from Korea to Singapore, to various parts of America. She is a big fan of learning languages, and she is hoping to learn her sixth one soon. Jackie is involved in various international campus organizations such Global Brigades at Marshall and Model United Nations. She loves playing ice hockey, playing traditional Korean music and socializing with people in her free time!