the univeristy of texas at austin

Home  | Site Search:

UT Austin International Office International Student and Scholar Services


About PALS

PALS is an opportunity to Go Global on Campus! The PALS program matches international and American students for a cultural and language exchange. Help teach others about your culture and learn about theirs!

Want to practice a foreign language or English? Learn about another country’s customs? Experience an international cooking night?

With over 4,500 international students at UT, there are over 4,500 opportunities to have an international experience right here on campus. PALS is a great way to explore the world!

How to Apply

Please submit the appropriate PALS application electronically. You can find the electronic application form on our website.

Questions? Check out the FAQ section of this page for answers to common questions, or contact the PALS office.

Contact Information & Office Hours

PALS Office Hours:

There are no regular office hours during summer. Please email us.

Contact Information:

Phone: 512-471-2348
Social Media: Friend us on Facebook

ISSS International Office
2400 Nueces Street, Suite B
Austin, Texas 78705

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to join PALS?

Nothing! It is absolutely free to join the PALS program. Just fill out an application and submit it online or to our office, and you’re all set. Sometimes PALS have events at nearby eateries and it is necessary for you to bring your own money if you would like to have food or drinks. See our calendar for more information, or stop by our office to pick up a hard copy of the activity schedule.

How do I apply? When is the deadline?

To apply to PALS, fill out the online application, or visit our office to fill out a paper application. There is no deadline to submit the application. The Program Coordinators attempt to make matches throughout most of the semester. If a match is not likely at a certain point during the semester, we will encourage you to fill out an application for the following semester.

Why do I need to provide an email address?

PALS’ official way of communicating is via email. We need your email to notify you in case you’ve been matched with a PAL and to send you updates about the weekly events. It is very important that you give us your correct email address.

I attended an event and found a PAL there. What do I do now?

Great! If you found a PAL before the Program Coordinators have found a match for you, please notify us immediately, either visiting our office or by emailing us. We will simply enter this match into our system. This way, we do not continue looking for a match for you, or accidentally match you with another PAL.

How often can I meet with my PAL? Where do I meet with my PAL?

Once you are matched, it is up to you and your PAL to set up a time and date to meet. You should plan to meet on or around campus and during daytime hours, if at all possible. PALS are committed to an hour meeting once a week, but you may meet more often if you like. If you and your PAL have conflicting schedules, please inform the Program Coordinators as soon as possible so that we can find another match for both of you. Please visit our office or email us if you need our assistance.

I cannot contact my PAL. What do I do now?

If you have been matched, but after several attempts are unable to connect with your PAL, please let us know. We will do our best to correct contact information, contact your PAL, or find you another match. Please email us or visit our office if you need help with this problem.

Why haven’t I received an email confirmation?

If you applied several weeks ago and still have not received any emails from PALS, email us or visit our office. We may not have your correct contact information. Sometimes the emails we send out are undeliverable and we try our best to find the correct email address, but finding that information is not always possible without your help.

Why haven’t I been matched?

Once you submit your PALS application and receive a confirmation, it usually takes one to two weeks to get matched with a PAL. It might take a bit longer depending on busy periods. Sometimes it is difficult to match everyone because we have a limited number of applicants with the same preferences. As it is the purpose of our program to encourage cultural as well as language exchange, we urge you to apply early in the semester and to be flexible with the preferences you indicate on your application. We continue making matches throughout the semester; however, we will send out an email if there are zero to very few possible matches that we believe we will be able to make throughout the duration of the semester.

I have a question, concern or comment not listed here.

Please visit our office, or e-mail us! Don’t forget to include the topic of your email in the subject line, please.

PALS History

The Partnerships to Advance Language Study and Cultural Exchange (PALS) Program was created in August of 1993 by the International Office at the University of Texas at Austin to introduce international students to American students for the purposes of practicing language. No program designed to pair newly arrived international students with American students existed at the University at that time.

As the PALS Program grew, American students also contacted the International Office asking for a way to interact with international students. The program then began to focus on matching students for the purpose of cultural exchange in addition to language study.

While the PALS Program emphasizes one-to-one interaction between international students and American students by matching applications, the PALS Program also organizes several scheduled activities for all participants to attend. Scheduled activities are a good opportunity for matched PALS participants to meet other participants besides their PAL, as well as for unmatched participants to take part in the program without being matched.