Icanation's mission is to improve cross-cultural interactions.

We bring people from around the world together through conversation. 

The key word in this sentence is conversation.  Not debates, not lectures...conversations.  What's the difference?  Let's look at the basic definitions of each of these.

Notice the key difference? Of the three words, only a conversation allows for the two-way exchange of ideas. Icanation creates events that really get people talking.  Because Icanation does not have a political or religious agenda, our conversation groups are not designed to present "one point of view".  Rather, we create opportunities for people to explore the viewpoints of others and learn more about diverse cultures through casual conversations.

8 Key Benefits of Conversation Groups

Over the past years, we researched participants’ benefits gained from our conversation groups.  We were curious whether these groups have similar results to classroom learning.  What we discovered is that the conversation group benefits actually exceed classroom learning, particularly in speaking and comprehension skills

Here are just a few benefits observed:

  1. Informal atmospheres provide      for open communication.       When      we relax, we learn.  Icanation's conversation groups routinely      have a broad mix of nationalities and "levels of fluency" at our      events. Our group ranges from individuals who have just arrived in      the US to native speakers.  Yet we consistently observed that within
  2. English learning participants      are much more apt to speak in a conversation than in a classroom. Because no one is "grading" or      "evaluating" their speech, participants relax and engage in the      conversation.
  3. Safe zone for questionsIcanation encourages participants to ask questions. As      a result, participants bring up questions that they simply don't feel      comfortable discussing with instructors, bosses and even co-workers.       At Icanation, we are independent third-party consultants.  Therefore,      there is no risk to the participant that any question could adversely      impact their advancement academically or professionally.  Also, they      are free to ask even basic questions without feeling silly or ignorant.
  4. Improved listening skills.   In a classroom situation, the student often      becomes very familiar with the pronunciations and cadence of their      instructor, yet have difficulty understanding others.  Brains adjust      to sounds that are familiar to us.  Icanation’s conversation groups      provide participants the opportunity to hear many different people speak,      including a variety of accents and cadences. This has proven to improve      listening skills. 
  5. Unscripted conversations      improve comprehension skills.       In a      typical classroom or business setting, the participant can often guess      what is going on because of the scheduled topic.  This doesn't mean      that they truly understand, rather that they can guess just by the title      of the topic. Icanation’s conversations are unscripted, so the      participant doesn't have a guidebook of the topics.  Guessing doesn't      work and therefore, comprehension skills also improve. 
  6. Conversation Group Camaraderie      reduces loneliness.       The      informal atmosphere of Icanation's conversation groups create an      environment of camaraderie and many long-lasting friendships are      forged.  Students and workers that move to the US are seeking an      international experience.  Yet unless they are exposed and/or invited      into ...tend to remain isolated or socialize only with their own      nationality.  The conversation groups are composed of participants      from very diverse backgrounds, ages and professions.  Yet everyone      shares a common factor of desiring cultural interaction and English      conversation.
  7. Conversation groups expose participants      to many diverse viewpoints which enhance cultural understandingIcanation has found that regardless the topic      being discussed, because the partisans backgrounds are so diverse, participants      will present many different viewpoints, yet often realize that the key      factors share common threads.  Even when the participant's viewpoints      differ, they become more aware and tolerant of the others point-of-view. 
  8. People do business with people      they know.Icanation’s conversation      groups provide unique networking opportunities. Participants get to know each other      through repeated conversations. These informal conversations pave the way      for learning about new markets and business opportunities. Many participants have helped each other      through introductions, understanding business practices and comparing market      conditions.