English with Friends


Born in Rome in 1968, the Community of Sant’Egidio is present in more than 70 countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and South Africa. Since 1986 in Rome, the Community of Sant’Egidio has been teaching local languages to immigrants. Teaching the language is the first sign of welcome for those who are coming in a country looking for a better future for themselves and for their family. It is part of what we want to be as Pope Francis has repeatedly invited the Church to and that as Community of Sant’Egidio we have lived for more than 50 years: a Christian community encountering others and living solidarity among all. Being proficient in the language of the country where we are living is a precondition to integration and success. When we know the language of the country where we live we can learn and contribute. New York’s English with Friends program is part of a longstanding tradition for Sant’Egidio of welcoming immigrants with open arms, through programs like Humanitarian Corridors and Schools of Language and Culture. 

The Method

We all learn languages from someone who is already fluent. To learn a language is to practice it. Very often, immigrants live in linguistically separated groups. Sant’Egidio English with Friends invites everyone in an English-only full immersion environment so that listening and comprehension, as well as speaking and reading skills improve. The key is to learn to share life in English. All examples, all stories, all conversations are real-life ones. At English with Friends, we learn together to understand life, its complications, its promises, its hopes and dreams in an English shared with friends. There are different levels of proficiency, from beginners on, to better everyone’s skills and mastering of the language. We work in classes according to level and in one-on-one conversational settings.

The Network

Sant’Egidio English with Friends is completely run by volunteers. There is no charge. No one is paid to offer services and no one is paying to get them. Everything is shared gratuitously: time, energy, ideas, space, even access, computers, phones, and other communication platforms. We work together in groups and in pairs because want to learn in different settings complementing the regularity of the classes with the flexibility of meetings around the city and remotely.  The extra benefit of speaking and listening in English in a professional setting is that learners are exposed to many lifestyles, different options, and opportunities. At Sant’Egidio English with Friends, everyone learns and everyone teaches.

The Goal

English with Friends wants to be a place where we build coexistence learning to live with different people. Classes are usually mixed and not monoethnic. Attending the lessons is an occasion to build relations of friendship among people who may be distant at the origin and who would have probably never met. Thus, we realize a workshop of the civilization of living together, a good model, a good practice to build integration and coexistence.

Get involved and learn! Connect with 

Andrea Bartoli by phone/text/WhatsApp at +16466443996 or by email at andrea.bartoli@santegidio.org

W. André Dakoala by phone/text/WhatsApp at +19174028192 or by email at dakandress@gmail.com

In New York City we collaborate with the Parish of Saint Joseph of the Holy Family, at 405 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027.

During the COVID 19 pandemic all activities are maintained remotely through phone, WhatsApp, Zoom and other platforms.

Registration is here.